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Who Represents Who

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Pearl Liu leads the six-partner corporate team at Quisumbing Torres, which counts Uber International, Wood Group and Pfizer (Asia Pacific) among its clients. Dennis Quintero acted for Glencore on the sale of its interest in one of the Philippines’ largest mining projects to a joint venture partner. Other clients include Forever 21 International Holdings and Atos.

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles’ department is headed by Wilma Cua and Jose Mirasol, and includes senior partners Ricardo Romulo and Jose Buenaventura. Capital markets and M&A specialist Agustin Montilla advises Nasdaq-listed clients on corporate matters.

At SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, Ken Ferrer acted for the Philippine Stock Exchange on its proposed purchase of Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corporation Group. Koninklijke Philips and Aboitiz Power Corporation are high-profile clients. Rocky Reyes leads the team, which includes competition specialist Franco Larcina, who made partner in January 2016.

Eusebio Tan heads the practice at Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw), which also includes Judy Hao. Clients include Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and GlaxoSmithKline. Elaine Reyes-Rodolfo made partner in April 2016.

The M&A experts at Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose are Noel Laman, Ma Victoria Sarmiento, Ma Pilar Gutierrez, Delfin Angcao and Teodulo San Juan, Jr. The department’s client roster includes local and international clients.

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos’ corporate department advises on capital restructuring and cross-border investments and transactions. It also assists on PPP projects. Name partners Antonio Picazo and Gemma Santos are active in M&A, as are Gabriel Dee, Estrelita Gacutan and Ma Adelina Gatdula.

The team at Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices is headed by Ramil Bugayong, with support from Regina Jacinto-Barrientos. Bugayong acted for China Banking Corporation on the spin-off of its investment banking unit into an investment house. Other clients include Bank of Tokyo–Mitsubishi UFJ and Aboitiz Equity Ventures.

At Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra & Sison, M&A expert Ruelito Soriano (who ‘identifies the pertinent issues and suggests the best option for the client’) acted for PR Gaz and its joint venture partner Cosco Capital on their purchase of Liquigaz Philippines from SHV Calor Asia.

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio’s department advised Pearson on its Affordable Learning Fund’s capital infusion into Affordable Private Education Center, and acted for Ayala Healthcare Holdings on its PHP400m purchase of a 50% stake in a local pharmacy selling generic pharmaceuticals. Jaime Gatmaytan, Norma Patacsil and Mary Mundin are the key partners.

At Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano, ‘very reliable’ team head Elmer Serrano (who, for one client, is ‘the perfect partner’) regularly advises corporates on large acquisitions. Mia Ormita is also singled out for praise. Clients include Filoil Group, BDO Unibank and SM Retail.

Platon Martinez Flores San Pedro & Leaño’s clients include Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, Siemens (Philippines) and DHL Worldwide. The practice advised the shareholders of Roosevelt College on the sale of a majority interest in the college to Far Eastern University. Name partners Carlos Platon and Hector Martinez are key figures.

Jose Cochingyan III and Anthony Peralta are the key partners at Cochingyan & Peralta Law Offices, and are supported by senior associates Sheryl Bartolome and Aimee Salamat. The department advises multinational clients on corporate governance and regulatory and compliance issues, and is strong in M&A.

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia’s ‘excellent’ department counts Aboitiz Equity Ventures, ABS-CBN Corporation and Dole Philippines among its clients. Aida Roxas-Rivera acted for ALK Holdings & Management on its purchase of Fritz & Macziol Asia. Manuel Manaligod, Jr leads the practice.

Involved in a wide variety of sectors, the corporate department at Ocampo Manalo Valdez & Lim counts Bibliarch, Foodsphere, Ayala Hotels & Resorts, Vassar Industries, and The Medical City among its clients. Carlos Ocampo and Juan Valdez are recommended.

The key M&A partners at Poblador Bautista & Reyes are Marie Roque-Quintos and Raymund Rodriguez, though name partners Alexander Poblador and Mario Bautista are also active in the space. The practice assists clients with corporate reorganisations and audits.

Puno & Puno Law Offices’ M&A team works closely with the firm’s other departments, particularly tax, energy, banking, environment and construction. It is increasingly involved in the energy and real estate sectors.

Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako’s corporate team handles corporate housekeeping, capital restructuring and joint venture formation. Edgardo Balois is the key contact.

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)’s practice is headed by Sylvette Tankiang. Highlights included acting for Filipino Fund on compliance and disclosure matters, and assisting BayWa with due diligence concerning the company’s proposed investment in a renewables project.

The key partners at Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula are Angelo Advincula, Samantha Dy-van de Loo and Juan Miguel de la Fuente. De la Fuente advised Frontier Capital Group and E!xcite Gaming and Entertainment on their $26m acquisition of Stotsenberg Leisure Park & Hotel Corporation.

Key figures at Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion & Lucila include M&A expert Roberto Lucila; senior partners Felipe Gozon and Magdangal Elma; and Gener Asuncion, who handles contentious corporate matters.

Maritime boutique Del Rosario & Del Rosario has a commendable corporate practice, which is headed by Joseph Rebano. The team helped several clients, including Royal Caribbean Cruises and Star Bulk Carriers Corporation, on their corporate reorganisations.

Established in September 2015, Gulapa Law Office’s corporate practice is headed by Aris Gulapa, who acted for Apo Agua Infrastructura on the implementation of its joint venture agreement and bulk water purchase agreement with the Davao City Water District.

Ortega Bacorro Odulio Calma & Carbonell’s practice, which is led by Renato Calma, assists clients with partnership and compliance matters, and is active in M&A.

Disini & Disini Law Office’s ‘fast, efficient’ practice counts Findel, Arcadis, DataOne Asia (Philippines) and Property24 among its clients. JJ Disini and Rowena Disini head the department.

JGLaw has experience in M&A, joint ventures, and establishing tax-efficient vehicles for investment in the Philippines.

The partners to contact at Kapunan Garcia & Castillo Law Offices are Lorna Patajo-Kapunan and Irene Besido-Garcia. The team is strong in the incorporation of companies in the Philippines.

Rafael Morales took on the role of managing partner at Morales Justiniano Peña & Lumagui in April 2016 following his arrival from SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan. The team is notably strong in inbound investments and M&A.

Mosveldtt Law assisted Ayala Education with its acquisition of a controlling interest in the University of Nueva Caceres, and executed a joint venture agreement between Manila Water Company and Zamboanga City Water District. Jerry Coloma III is the key contact.

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Legal Developments in Philippines

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • ALB: “Enforcement Update: Philippine Competition Act”

    The August 2017 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB)  includes a Philippine regional update by SyCipLaw partner  Arlene M. Maneja entitled, “Enforcement Update: Philippine Competition Act”. The article summarizes the administrative, civil and criminal penalties that apply to companies that have yet to comply with the Philippine Competition Act (PCA). The transitional clause of the PCA to enable parties to renegotiate agreements or restructure their businesses to comply with the law expired on August 7, 2017.
  • CPO: “Philippines: To Be or Not To Be a Data Protection Officer (DPO)”

    Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Magazine, an online publication owned by Data Privacy Asia, featured an article by SyCipLaw partner Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez . Entitled “Philippines: To Be or Not To Be a Data Protection Officer (DPO) ”, the article discusses the qualifications and responsibilities of a DPO as outlined in the Philippine Data Privacy Act of 2012. It also outlines difficulties companies may experience in the appointment of a DPO.
  • ALB: “Guidelines on Related Party Transactions for Insurers in the Philippines”

    The July 2017 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB) includes a Philippine regional update by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan and associate Jo Margarette W. Remollo entitled, “Guidelines on Related Party Transactions for Insurers in the Philippines ”. The article summarizes the Insurance Commission’s compliance guidelines on related party transactions, as set out in Insurance Circular Letter No. 2017-29. The Circular covers insurers, reinsurers, branch offices of foreign insurers, mutual benefit associations, pre-need companies, and health maintenance organizations and their intermediaries.
  • Philippines Chapter in The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 5

    The Philippines section of The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 5 contains information on commencing disputes, including national and local taxes; courts and tribunals; penalties and remedies; tax claims, including recovering overpaid taxes, challenging administrative decisions, and claimants; costs; alternative dispute resolution; anti-avoidance; double taxation treaties; areas of focus; and outlook and conclusions. The section was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Carina C. Laforteza  with support from associate  Mark Xavier D. Oyales .
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Acquiring insurance brokers”

    The April issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Hiyasmin H. Lapitan  entitled “Philippines: Acquiring insurance brokers”. The article discusses the new requirement by the Philippine Insurance Commission (IC) for advance approval to acquire a stake in a Philippine corporation that is licensed as an insurance broker or reinsurance broker. This requirement is noted in the IC’s circular letter number 2017-09 dated February 14, 2017, which prescribes guidelines on the documentation requirements for acquiring a domestic insurance or reinsurance broker.
  • SyCipLaw Tax Bulletin: Philippine BIR Rules on Proper Tax Treatment of Passed-on Gross Receipts Tax

    On June 13, 2016, the then Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 62-2016 purporting to clarify the proper tax treatment of percentage tax or gross receipts tax (GRT) due on transactions covered by Sections 1211 and 1222 of the Tax Code which are shifted through contractual stipulations to borrowers/customers/clients (“passed-on” GRT). Banks, non-bank financial intermediaries performing quasi-banking functions are subject to GRT under Section 121 while financing companies and other financial intermediaries not performing quasi-banking functions are subject to GRT under Section 122. The effectivity of this circular was suspended on July 1, 2016 by the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue. However, on November 15, 2016, the suspension was lifted by RMC No. 127-2016 rendering RMC No. 62-2016 effective immediately.
  • Philippine Court of Appeals Denies Issuance of Environmental Protection Order Against Mining Company

    In a decision issued on March 8, 2017, the Philippine Court of Appeals (CA) denied the petition by NGO Ang Aroroy ay Alagaan, Inc. and certain individuals, for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan against Filminera Resources Corporation, and its directors and officers. The petitioners have claimed that Filminera, which operates in the Philippine province of Masbate, had been causing environmental damage in the conduct of its mining operations in violation of local law, and that a writ of kalikasan should be issued.
  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: Philippine Central Bank Issues New FinTech Rules

    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (the Philippine Central Bank) has issued two new circulars that will be of interest to companies engaged in remittance services, e-money, digital currency, and other fintech businesses. Both circulars amend portions of the BSP Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions.
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Foreign equity ownership decision”

    The March issue of the International Financial Law Review ( IFLR ) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Jose Florante M. Pamfilo  entitled “Philippines: Foreign equity ownership decision”. The article discusses the Philippine Supreme Court decision on the case of Roy v. Herbosa (GR no. 207246) to invalidate the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Memorandum Circular no. 8-2013 (MC 8-2013) on the guidelines on compliance with the Filipino-foreign ownership requirements prescribed in the Philippine Constitution and/or existing laws by corporations engaged in nationalized and partly nationalized activities.
  • Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All

    The World Bank Group has released its Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All report. This is the 14th in an annual series of reports providing objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement in 190 economies. The report focuses on measuring regulations affecting 11 areas: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

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