Tokyo Fujimi propertyPhilippine Daily Inquirer
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) declared on March 11 the Philippine Ambassador to Japan’s official residence at Fujimi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, a national historical landmark, and urges the Philippine government to retain, protect and preserve the site as part of the national patrimony.
This priceless property was bought by then president Jose P. Laurel with insufficient funds from the Philippine government, who subsequently had to pay the balance with money borrowed from his wife, Doña Paciencia Hidalgo Laurel. Government records do not indicate she has been refunded for the amount she had advanced.
As early as March 9, 1952, the Philippine Historical Committee, the precursor of the NHCP, installed a historical marker at the same site, which however did not fully protect it from the “commerce of man.” Consequently, the property had been subjected to several attempts to sell, lease and develop by joint venture. All schemes would have resulted to reducing the greatness of this addition to our national patrimony.
The Philippine Ambassadors Foundation Inc. (Pafi), led by past president, Ambassador Jose Macario Laurel IV, and fully supported by former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who issued Senate Resolution 1414 on Oct. 14, 2009, directing the Senate committee on foreign relations to conduct an investigation into the alleged demolition of the Philippine ambassador’s residence in Fujimi, Tokyo.
Petitions filed by Pafi with the Supreme Court for a TRO (temporary restraining order) against the Philippine government ensued, culminating with the final en banc resolution, dated Nov. 27. 2012, dismissing the petition for demolition after the solicitor general advised the NHCP that the government is no longer interested in the negotiated procurement of the Fujimi property.
In recognition of his endeavors toward this Pafi achievement, Laurel was honored with a certificate of appreciation, presented by ambassadors Lauro L. Baja Jr. and Jose M. Zaldarriaga, incumbent chair and president respectively, during a Pafi board meeting at the Manila Polo Club on April 2.