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Kenneth Aboud and Alexander Stathopoulos head Allen & Overy’s practice. Alun Evans, who made partner in May 2016, advised Bank of Tokyo–Mitsubishi UFJ on its $783m purchase of a 20% interest in Security Bank Corporation. Other clients include Emperador Group, Philippines Airlines, San Miguel and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Baker McKenzie is represented in the Philippines entirely by Quisumbing Torres, a high-profile local firm that has long maintained a strong reputation across several practice areas, including M&A, IP, aviation, employment and immigration.

At DLA Piper, Alex Guy and Stephen Webb specialise in PPP and energy, respectively, and project finance partner Michael Horn, who joined the team in November 2015, advised FMO on a $15m loan to Sindicatum for the development of the Clark Solar Power Plant. Other clients include Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Ayala Land.

Native Tagalog speaker Maria Pedersen is the key contact at Jones Day; she is experienced in corporate matters and high-profile projects in the Philippines. The ‘excellent, reliable’ practice, commended for its ‘very personal service’, advised the Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines and the Department of Public Works and Highways on the proposed $2.72bn Laguna Lakeshore Expressway-Dike PPP project.

Linklaters Singapore Pte. Ltd’s practice ‘provides timely and meaningful advice, especially at critical decision-making junctures’. Headed by Pamela Shores and Philip Badge, the practice advised the Philippine government on a tender offer for up to $1.5bn in outstanding dollar-denominated bonds. Other clients include Assicurazioni Generali, Monde Nissin and Victoria International Container Terminal.

The team at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has ‘strong in-country expertise’ and ‘a longstanding relationship with issuers’. ‘Highly experienced’ practice head James Grandolfo is supported by of counsel Desiree Woo and Asia counsel Paul Pery. Clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Philippine National Bank.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, project finance experts Bill McCormack and counsel Anna Chung acted for Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Macquarie Group on the development and financing of the high-profile $1.4bn LRT1 project. The team is currently advising Metro and Ayala as sponsors on the LRT2 project.

Ashurst LLP’s practice, which is particularly strong in projects and energy, is headed by the ‘experienced, knowledgeable, straightforward’ Matthew Bubb, and has ‘invaluable international expertise in infrastructure work’. Andrew Digges and Joshua Cole joined in the summer of 2015 from Allen & Overy and King & Wood Mallesons, respectively.

Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are among the clients of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong)’s department. Sung Kang advised a syndicate of underwriters including HSBC, Morgan Stanley and J.P Morgan on an offering of $2bn-worth of bonds by the Philippine government. Counsel Robert Williams is also recommended.

Consultant Alexander Lloyd joined the team at Clifford Chance from Sidley Austin in January 2016; debt capital markets is his speciality. The department, which is led by Andrew Gambarini and Paul Landless, acted for EastWest Bank on its establishment of a $65m life insurance joint venture with Ageas in the Philippines.

Gibson Dunn’s department, which is particularly strong in the capital markets and power sectors, counts San Miguel Corporation, Aboitiz Power, Manila Electric Company and the Philippines government among its clients. Practice head Patricia Openshaw advised AP Renewables on its issuance of the Asia Pacific region’s first climate bond, worth PHP10.7bn.

ING Bank, DMCI Holdings, Energy Development Corporation and San Miguel Corporation are all clients of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Philippines team. Recent client wins include Seawood Resources and Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels. Alexander Aitken and senior consultant Jun Bautista lead the team.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s department is headed by Benjamin Carale, who made partner in March 2016, and counts Melco Crown Entertainment, TeaM Energy and Meralco PowerGen Corporation among its clients. Carale acted for Vista Land & Lifescapes on the issuance of $125m-worth of senior notes, which was South East Asia’s first dollar bond offering of 2016.

John Yeap leads the team at Pinsent Masons, with support from David Platt and Ian Laing. International Finance Corporation and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management are among the department’s clients. Steve Potter and Ashley Wright joined the practice in the spring of 2016 from Jones Day and Norton Rose Fulbright, respectively.

Sidley Austin LLP’s seven-partner team, based in Singapore and Hong Kong, is headed by Matthew Sheridan and Charlie Wilson. Nicholas Grambas is particularly active in the space, and acted for Aboitiz Equity Ventures on its $1.3bn purchase, with CRH, of Lafarge Philippines’ cements and aggregates business. Other clients include San Miguel and UBS.

Jonathan Stone leads the practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, with able support from Rajeev Duggal and Alan Schiffman. The team, whose clients include Citigroup and First Gen, advised Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation on Cathay Life Insurance’s PHP17.9bn purchase of a 20% stake in the Corporation.

The ‘very commercial, sensible, solicitous’ team at Stephenson Harwood LLP, which is jointly led by Tom Platts in Singapore and Dubai-based of counsel Paige Crewson, is commended for its ‘excellent service’ and for ‘going the extra mile’. Platts acted for Stella International Holdings on the establishment of two new manufacturing facilities in the Philippines.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, practice head Don Stokes advised a syndicate of underwriters, including Asian Development Bank, Credit Guarantee & Investment Facility and BPI Capital Corporation, on AP Renewables’ issuance of the first-ever green bond in the Philippines. Amadeus IT Group is another client.

Kelly Malone leads King & Spalding LLP’s Philippines practice, with strong support from Mona Katigbak and Simon Cowled. Cowled advised Masinloc Power Partners on the development and financing of the $700m expansion of a 630MW coal-fired power plant in Zambales. Other clients include SunEdison and Aboitiz Power Corporation.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘very responsive, top-notch’ team is led by Steven Winegar, who is ‘hands-on, helpful and very easy to reach’. He defended Excelmind Group and Excelmind Capital against a breach-of-contract claim brought by Phunware and Rain Acquisition. Other clients include Ayala Land and Bank of Philippine Islands.

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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
  • 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.
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Promoting foreign investment”

    The February issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Aaron Roi B. Riturban  entitled “Philippines: Promoting foreign investment”. The article focuses on Republic Act no. 10881, which lifts the foreign investment limitations found in laws governing adjustment companies, lending companies, financing companies, and investment houses.  Read the article online at the IFLR website .
  • Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2017

    The World Bank Group has released Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2017. The report presents data on legal barriers for farmers, entrepreneurs and businesses operating in agriculture in 62 countries and across the topics of land, seed, fertilizer, machinery, water, livestock, finance, markets, transport, and information and communication technology (ICT). SyCipLaw's  Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez ,  Alan C. Fontanosa ,  Franco Aristotle G. Larcina  and  Ruben P. Acebedo II  contributed to the report.
  • Ending "Endo"

    “Endo” is the twin brother of the drug monster that also needs to be slain, so says the Duterte administration.  “Endo” is layman’s term for end of employment contract.  It is the date indicated on the employment contracts and is dreaded by employees as it means the end of his or her employment.  Read more...

    Antitrust laws, also referred to as “competition laws”, are statutes developed to protect consumers from predatory business practices by ensuring that fair competition exists in an open-market economy. Competition laws regulate and prohibit several questionable business activities such as market allocation/ de facto monopoly whereby companies agree to steer clear of each other’s identified geographical market or territories; bid rigging whereby conspiring entities manipulate the market with a view of retaining current market share and price for each entity; and price fixing whereby two or three entities agree on the same selling price. Competition laws are designed to maximize consumer welfare by regulating or preventing business activities which stifle competition.  Read more...
  • 10 Questions Investors Need to Ask Before Investing in the Philippines

    (1)What are the different forms of investment one can use?
  • Geothermal Transparency Guide

    SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) contributed the Philippine chapter of Icelandic law firm BBA’s handbook called the Geothermal Transparency Guide . The publication is intended to provide an overview of the legal and regulatory framework governing exploration, exploitation and production of electricity from geothermal resources. The Philippine chapter was contributed by SyCipLaw partners  Hector M. de Leon, Jr.  and  Angel M. Salita, Jr.

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