Antitrust and competition in Philippines

Quisumbing Torres

The competition focus group at Quisumbing Torres advises clients on the gamut of antitrust and competition issues, covering everything from horizontal and vertical arrangements to cartels to merger clearance. Its industry coverage is likewise broad, and the firm has advised companies in the consumer goods, pharma, manufacturing and financial services sectors (among others) on competition matters and processes. The firm also actively participates in public consultations on antitrust law and policy. Practice head Christina Macasaet-Acaban provides competition training sessions for clients. Alain Charles Veloso is another key practitioner in the team.

Practice head(s):

Christina Macasaet-Acaban

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Leading firm SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan has strength across the board, and antitrust and competition is no exception. It has been involved in a high number of clearance decisions issued by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). Also of note is the firm's experience in analyzing competition law issues in various types of vertical restraints, including resale price restrictions, exclusivity and non-compete provisions. Among a long list of recent transactions was its representation of Grab in the motu proprio review conducted by the PCC in relation to Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian assets and businesses, which was cleared by the PCC based on Grab’s voluntary commitments; Arlene Maneja led the team. Franco Aristotle Larcina is another key contact.

Other key lawyers:

Leah Abutan

Key clients

Metro Pacific Group

San Miguel Corporation

Aboitiz Power Corp.

Nova Asia Company

Dentsu Aegis Network

Manila Electric Company

TPG Growth III SF Pte Ltd


Mitsubishi Fudosan

Mitsubishi Corporation

Work highlights

  • Assisted Grab in the motu proprio review of the company’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian business.
  • Advised Dairy Farm International Holdings and Mulgrave Corporation in the notification requirement for their sale of Rustan Supercenters to Robinsons Retail Holdings.
  • Represented Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corporation in its joint venture with Century Properties Group; the joint venture with focus on developing, marketing and selling affordable housing projects.

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law)

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) has developed a notable merger control offering alongside its significant corporate and M&A practice, and it is also capable of handling behavioural competition matters. In a recent transaction, practice head Norma Margarita Patacsil advised Ayala Land and its subsidiaries Cebu Holdings and Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corporation in the latter two company's merger; the transaction required the PCC's confirmation that the merger between the related entities did not require PCC clearance.

Practice head(s):

Norma Margarita Patacsil

Key clients

Ayala Land

Ayala Healthcare Holdings

HNA Group/Avolon Holdings

Holcim Philippines

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ayala Land and its subsidiaries Cebu Holdings and Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corporation in the latter two company’s merger, obtaining the Philippine Competition Commission’s (PCC) confirmation that the merger between related entities did not require PCC clearance.

Gulapa & Lim (Gulapa Law)

Gulapa & Quicho (Gulapa Law) was established in 2015 and has quickly established itself in various fields of law in the Philippines, including antitrust. Aside from his representation of clients in competition matters, practice head Aris Gulapa also stands out for his contributions to antitrust policy through his advice on the development of policies established by the PCC, particularly those affecting public-private joint ventures. The group expanded at the partner level with the promotion of Jose Angel Machuca to the partnership in 2019. Highlights included advising a consortium (which included Aboitiz InfraCapital and others) on competition issues relevant to its proposal for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the four airport terminals at NAIA Airport.

Practice head(s):

Aris Gulapa

Other key lawyers:

Jose Angel Machuca

Key clients

Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group, Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation

Asian Development Bank

International Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium on competition issues affecting its proposal for the expansion and rehabilitation of the NAIA Airport.
  • Advised Asian Development Bank (ADB) on the joint venture for the National Government Administrative Center; the ADB advises the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) on the selection process for its JV partner.

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices advises its corporate clients in merger control proceedings for the clearance of major transactions. In a significant highlight, the team advised Uber on the Philippines aspect of the regional transaction between Uber and Grab; this included representing Uber in proceedings before the PCC, where, in 2018, the suspension order of the PCC was lifted and the transaction was allowed to proceed subject to compliance with voluntary remedies. Several lawyers at the firm are equipped to advise on competition issues, including Shirley Velasquez-Viray and Rachelle Diaz-Tan.

Key clients

Uber B.V.

Aboitiz Power Corporation

Work highlights

  • Handled the Philippine leg of Uber of the regional transaction between Uber and Grab, which included representing the company before the PCC.
  • Acted as counsel to Aboitiz Power Corporation in relation to the $579m acquisition of 49% voting interest and 60% economic interest in AA Thermal.

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law) is able to advise clients on corporate, commercial, regulatory and competition law and processes. It represents companies from various sectors - including but not limited to real estate, financial services and telecoms - in their interactions with the PCC in the context of corporate transactions. Sylvette Tankiang and Maria Concepcion Simundac are key contacts.

Other key lawyers:

Maria Concepcion Simundac

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula provides advice on the requirements and standards imposed by the PCC and assists in securing the necessary approvals in M&A transactions. In one highlight, the team acted for Cosco Capital as seller in the sale of shares of a local liquified petroleum gas company; the PCC ruled that the acquisition would not likely result in substantial lessening of competition within the relevant market. Angelo Patrick Advincula is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Angelo Patrick Advincula

Key clients

Cosco Capital

Philippine Bank of Communications

Work highlights

  • Advised the buyer in securing the approval of the PCC on a transaction that involves the acquisition of a valuable commercial building.
  • On behalf of Cosco Capital, the team handled the compliance and documentary requirements imposed by the Competition Act on the share acquisition transaction of a liquified petroleum gas company.
  • Acted for a bank in the PCC approval of a sale, which was approved in 2019.