Dispute resolution in Philippines

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw)

The highly regarded disputes practice at Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw) is well versed in complex litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The sizeable department has a strong track record, including in international arbitration, and covers diverse areas of law including competition, securities, banking, environmental and mass tort litigation. The firm also stands out for the longevity of its relationships with many of its key clients, which include household name companies in numerous sectors. Recently, the team acted for telecoms company PLDT in a significant case involving a petition for mandamus filed against certain private entities and government agencies to assail the acquisition of radio frequencies by certain private entities from the original assignee, on both constitutional and anti-competition grounds. In significant team news, Ramon Samson retired from the practice in December 2018, while Regis Puno joined as of counsel from Puno in September 2018. Victor Lazatin focuses on commercial and construction litigation and arbitration, and experienced litigator Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad handles a range of domestic and international commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Salvador Peña; Jose Martin Tensuan

Other key lawyers:

Victor Lazatin; Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad; Arnold Corporal; Antonio Eduardo Nachura Jr

Key clients

Manila Electric Company

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Chevron Philippines

Petron Corporation

The Philippine Star

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

PLDT

Banco de Oro Unibank

TV5 Network Inc.

Smart Communications

Iglesia Ni Cristo

CoStar Group

SM Prime Holdings

D.M. Consunji

Sanofi Pasteur

Work highlights

  • Acted for telecoms company PLDT in a petition seeking the recall in favour of the state of certain radio frequencies acquired by private entities from the original assignee.
  • Represented Cignal TV in a case to recover taxes and fees it paid in protest to a local government unit, for being contrary to the latter’s taxing jurisdiction.
  • Acted as counsel for the members of the Board of Directors of MERALCO in a case relating to various investments of MERALCO in its subsidiaries and affiliates, and joint ventures for businesses that are not related to its distribution business.

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia serves a diverse client base of local and international companies, which seek the firm's representation in commercial, tax, banking, administrative and appellate litigation, as well as ADR. The firm also maintains an active pro bono practice. The team stands out for having lawyers with qualifications in technical and specialised fields, including engineering, accounting, international trade, economics and IT, and its lawyers are considered 'experienced practitioners'. In a significant case with broad implications, the firm acted for the central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and the central monetary authority, the Monetary Board (MB), in a petition filed by Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank (Banco Filipino) before the Supreme Court; the petition sought to compel BSP and MB to approve and implement Banco Filipino’s business plan and to release a financial assistance and regulatory reliefs package. The highly experienced Simeon Marcelo acts in high-profile tax, financial fraud and commercial litigation. Victor Emmanuel Pangilinan and John Jerico Balisnomo are recommended. Rodel Cruz and the 'very reliableMiguel Silos are also key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

John Jerico Balisnomo

Other key lawyers:

Simeon Marcelo; Joe Nathan Tenefrancia; Rodel Cruz; Miguel Silos; Elmar Galacio; Victor Emmanuel Pangilinan; Jacques Lynn; Bernice Mendoza; Maria Vinina Bonita Padilla

Testimonials

The practice has been considered one of the best firms in the country for quite some time. The partners are experienced practitioners in their respective fields‘.

The lawyers have been very responsive; they find the most efficient solutions to the problems‘.

Miguel Silos has consistently given sound advice and practical and efficient solutions‘.

Rodel Cruz and John Jerico Balisnomo show professionalism; their composure and grace even under fire gives client the confidence that their case is always the priority for them‘.

Key clients

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Coca-Cola Femsa-Philippines

First Philippine Holdings Corporation

BDO Unibank

Union Bank of the Philippines

Manila Water Company

Unilever Philippines

Unicapital

Work highlights

  • Represents numerous significant organisations in a petition before the Supreme Court that questions regulations issued by the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.
  • Represented Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Monetary Board (MB) in a petition filed by Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank before the Supreme Court to compel BSP and MB to approve and implement Banco Filipino’s business plan.
  • Acted for Coca-Cola in a case to compel domestic sugar trader Pacific Sugar Holdings to comply with its undertakings in the supply and purchase agreements it executed with Coca-Cola in 2007 and 2008.
  • Represented Sagittarius Mines in its appeal to the Office of the President against the cancellation of its environmental compliance certificate by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  • Represents Dole in a series of intentional tort and product liability cases filed by over 56,000 claimants against several agricultural and food processing corporations.

Quisumbing Torres

The 'agile' and 'flexible' dispute resolution team at Quisumbing Torres 'offers a remarkably personal approach to its clients'. It regularly handles high-stakes and complex litigation and arbitration, and has broad experience in civil, commercial, criminal, regulatory and administrative disputes. The team has recently taken on high-value cases in the pharma, energy, transport and manufacturing industries. Practice head Donemark Calimon has acted as counsel or arbitrator in numerous commercial arbitrations, in addition to handling a varied range of litigation. Ramon Quisumbing is the managing partner of the firm and Miguel Galvez heads the compliance group. Michael Macapagal - who made partner in 2019 - and senior associate Marvin Masangkay are also noted. The firm has an alliance with Baker McKenzie, and its clients include multinational companies that are leaders in their fields.

Practice head(s):

Donemark Calimon

Other key lawyers:

Ramon Quisumbing; Miguel Galvez; Eliseo Zuñiga Jr; Michael Macapagal; Marvin Masangkay; Anna Carmi Calsado-Amoroso

Testimonials

The firm learns the client’s business, understands its commercial needs and make recommendations based on actual experience, balancing legal risk mitigation with the commercial objectives of the client‘.

Michael Macapagal is a superstar; he is a gifted legal writer and is thoughtful but confident when giving a legal opinion‘.

Miguel Galvez and Marvin Masangkay impress with their aggressive yet pragmatic approach in resolving disputes with regulators‘.

Key clients

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Publicis Groupe

UHS Essential Health Philippines

Johnson & Johnson

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan has extensive experience in complex commercial litigation and arbitration; it is equipped to handle disputes at all court levels, with notable expertise in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Its client base is comprised of well-known companies - both domestic and multinational - with operations in numerous industries. Sector strengths include, but are not limited to, water, natural resources, infrastructure, pharma and food and beverage. The team has been acting for Maynilad Water Services in the enforcement of an arbitral award against Metropolitan Water Sewerage System (MWSS); the dispute concerned Maynilad's petition for an upward rate rebasing adjustment. Ricardo Ongkiko heads the sizeable department, with Emmanuel Lombos and Carlos Lopez also leading figures. John Regalado made partner and Austin Claude Alcantara was promoted to senior associate in January 2019, while former partner Luisito Liban retired from the practice in May 2019.

Practice head(s):

Ricardo Ongkiko

Other key lawyers:

Emmanuel Lombos; Carlos Lopez; Ramon Songco; Anthony Dee; John Regalado; Austin Claude Alcantara; Ma. Patricia Paz

Key clients

First Pacific Company

Citibank

PLDT

Philex Mining Corporation

Manila Electric Company (MERALCO)

Metro Pacific Investments Corporation

Philippine Stock Exchange

OceanaGold

Maynilad Water Services

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines

Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation

Manila North Tollways Corporation

North Luzon Expressway Corporation

Pacific Ores Metals & Chemicals

Philippine Gold Processing & Refining

Keppel Group of Singapore

Cal Energy

Ormat Power

San Roque Power

Del Monte

BMW AG

Ford Motor Company

Volkswagen AG

United Coconut Planters Bank

Bank of America

Export-Import Bank of the United States

Bank of the Philippine Islands

Filminera Resources

Philip Morris

Hawker Pacific

NSC Holdings

Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Marubeni Corporation

Tokyu Construction

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel for Maynilad Water Services in the enforcement of an arbitral award against Metropolitan Water Sewerage System.
  • Successfully defended mining company Filminera Resources in a case filed against it in the Court of Appeals by a non-governmental organisation and several individuals from the Province of Masbate.
  • Represents power distributor MERALCO in an investigation for alleged anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of market power filed in the Philippine Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Acted for Ford in product liability cases filed by vehicle buyers.
  • Represented Del Monte in a mass tort action filed by hundreds of individuals.

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

The dispute resolution team at Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law) is often instructed in complex and high-profile cases. Recently, this included acting as counsel to Globe Telecommunications (Globe) in a petition filed before the Supreme Court against Globe, PLDT, Liberty Broadcasting Network (Liberty), Bell Telecommunications (Bell), the Philippine Competition Commission and the National Telecommunications Commission, seeking to invalidate the 3G and 4G frequencies assigned to Globe and PLDT pursuant to their acquisition of Vega Telecommunications, the parent company of Liberty and Bell. Aside from its renown in the telecoms sector, the team is also well versed in disputes in the financial services, agriculture, logistics and construction sectors, among others. In 2019, the team made a number of promotions at the associate levels; new senior associates include Via Monina Valdepeñas, Juan Paolo Miguel Leido and Ivan Victor Mendez. Joseph Anthony Lopez, Thea Daep, Augusto San Pedro Jr and Alejandro Alfonso Navarro are leading partners in the department.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Anthony Lopez

Other key lawyers:

Thea Daep; Augusto San Pedro Jr; Alejandro Alfonso Navarro; Raquel Wealth Taguian; Dianne Marie Roa-Oarde; Rashel Ann Pomoy; Juan Paolo Miguel Leido; Via Monina Valdepeñas; Ivan Victor Mendez

Key clients

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

Globe Telecommunications

Banco De Oro Unibank

Malayan Insurance Company

Phoenix Petroleum Philippines

Lapanday Foods Corporation

CITRA Group

Makati Development Corporation

Bank of the Philippine Islands

ABS-CBN Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted for Globe in a petition filed before the Supreme Court against it and other telecoms companies concerning the acquisition of Vega Telecommunications.
  • Acts as counsel to China Telecom Corporation Limited in a case filed with the Supreme Court of the Philippines concerning the award of the Third Major Player (TMP) of the National Telecommunications Commission.
  • Defended Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and its officers in administrative litigation following the cyber-heist on the Central Bank of Bangladesh.
  • Secured a $52m award for BDO Unibank in a collection suit against the LKG Group of Companies.
  • Secured a victory for Hijo Resources Corporation in a long-running case concerning the computation to be used by the Department of Agrarian Reform in determining the just compensation for the client’s land.

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

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law)'s dispute resolution team is 'extremely responsive', and clients appreciate that 'research and opinions are provided quickly'. Covering a diverse range of subjects, the practice handles both litigation and arbitration. Areas of expertise include tax disputes, product liability and tort litigation, corporate rehabilitation and the enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards. Its arbitration experience spans ad hoc arbitration and procedures under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), among others.  It has recently received instructions in complex disputes from new and longstanding clients. Highlights included its representation of SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation in proceedings to nullify certain issuances of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that would allow imported steel bars to be “conditionally released” from the Bureau of Customs’ custody without being first inspected and certified by the DTI’s Bureau of Product Standards; Ben Dominic Yap and Jess Raymund Lopez lead on the case. Jesus Paolo Protacio co-heads the team with Yap and is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Ben Dominic Yap; Jesus Paolo Protacio

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Mark Gutierrez; Jess Raymund Lopez; Vladi Miguel Lazaro

Testimonials

The firm takes a holistic view of the situation and can give legal advice that is commercially realistic‘.

The team provides efficient and balanced advice‘.

Jesus Paolo Protacio is able to think of well-rounded solutions to problems, and always puts emphasis on choosing a solution that makes sense from a commercial perspective‘.

Ben Dominic Yap is sober, cautious and provides measured response. A good guide in navigating disputes‘.

Key clients

Metro Rail Transit Corporation

SN Aboitiz Power-Magat and SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet

AP Renewables

TeaM Energy

Mactan Enerzone Corporation

Sanofi Pasteur

Sanofi-Aventis Philippines

Subic Enerzone

Lloyd’s Register Asia

Energy Development Corporation

Holcim Philippines

Phoenix LPG Philippines

SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation

Steel Corporation of the Philippines

CE Casecnan Water and Energy Company

Standard Chartered Bank

MarcVentures Mining and Development Corporation

Canon Marketing Philippines

Work highlights

  • Acts for Metro Rail Transit Corporation in proceedings before the Philippine Supreme Court against the City of Makati in connection with an attempt by the latter to forfeit assets to satisfy alleged tax liabilities of over PHP1bn.
  • Represented Mactan Enerzone Corporation in a dispute concerning the entitlement to purchase certain sub-transmission assets of the National Transmission Corporation.
  • Represented pharma company Sanofi Pasteur in a tax assessment matter worth over $40m.
  • Represents two creditors in rehabilitation proceedings that were commenced by HHIC Phils before the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo.
  • Acts for SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation in court proceedings to nullify certain issuances of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); the case went to the Supreme Court after the DTI appealed the decision of the trial court.

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

At Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano, 'the legal advice is nuanced, insightful and always given in a clear and timely manner', and one client remarks that 'the firm makes us feel assured that our legal requirements are competently addressed'. 'Clearly operating in a class of its own', the dispute resolution team balances a diverse caseload, covering everything from property litigation to data privacy disputes to rehabilitation proceedings. Commercial arbitration also features; 'excellent legal counsellor' Shirley Alinea is among the key contacts in this space. Senior partner and practice head Eduardo Martinez handles civil, criminal and commercial litigation, including at the appellate levels, and also has an active family law practice. Sports law specialist Enrico Angeles rejoined the firm in 2018 after completing a Masters in Global Sports Law.

Practice head(s):

Eduardo Martinez

Other key lawyers:

Reynaldo Dizon; Shirley Alinea; Kristine Bongcaron; Arleo Antonio Magtibay Jr; Enrico Angeles

Testimonials

The firm gives comprehensive replies to queries, as well as timely status reports of the cases. The team is likewise very accessible, with partners reachable at any time‘.

The team is composed of extremely talented professional lawyers and staff, who are meticulous in their research and detailed in their replies‘.

All the partners are great; they are all humble and intelligent‘.

The team is firm but accommodating in how we want our cases resolved‘.

Shirley Alinea gives practical advice based on extensive experience; she does not over-promise and always provides options‘.

Aside from his professionalism and knowledge of the law, Eduardo Martinez is warm and genuinely cares for his clients. He gives his undivided attention to the client’s problem‘.

Associates that also deserve mention are Kristine Bongcaron and Arleo Antonio Magtibay Jr, who have been instrumental in many successful cases‘.

Key clients

Megawide Construction Corporation

Bank of Commerce

DKT Health

BDO Unibank

Cohaco Merchandising & Dev. Corporation

CW Home Depot

Port Users Confederation

Lucerne Group of Companies

Diversified Technology Solutions International

CF Sharp Crew Management

Crown Equities

Platon Martinez Flores San Pedro & Leaño

Platon Martinez Flores San Pedro & Leaño has notable experience in litigation and ADR. Arbitration is a key focus area, and the team has recently handled a number of construction arbitration proceedings before the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC). Elsewhere, it acted for a global investment and advisory firm focused on the infrastructure sector in an arbitration before the SIAC, and, in litigation, it acted as Philippine counsel to an international oil and gas company in several cases, including a class action lawsuit. Peter Bantilan and Arturo Selim are the lead dispute resolution partners. Recently promoted partner Jason Kyle Sarenas also regularly assists on the department's largest cases.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bantilan; Arturo Selim

Other key lawyers:

Israfel Fagela; Jason Kyle Sarenas

Work highlights

  • Represented a global investment and advisory firm in arbitration proceedings before the SIAC.
  • Acted for an international oil and gas company in several cases, including a class action suit.

Poblador Bautista & Reyes

Poblador Bautista & Reyes undertakes commercial and criminal litigation, as well as representing clients in domestic and international arbitration proceedings. Alexander Poblador is the key contact.

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices is equipped to handle high-profile work for market-leading companies. In one example, it acted for certain officers of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of multinational pharma giant Sanofi, in the criminal cases filed with the Department of Justice in relation to the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy. The firm also stands out for its prowess in the power sector; it often represents power generation facilities in disputes concerning the construction and operation of their power generation facilities before the courts and other administrative agencies. Energy litigation specialists Joshua Gilbert Paraiso and Fidel Valeros Jr co-head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Joshua Gilbert Paraiso; Fidel Valeros Jr

Other key lawyers:

Roy Enrico Santos

Work highlights

  • Acted for officers of Sanofi Pasteur in criminal cases filed with the Department of Justice concerning the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy.
  • Represented Therma Power Visayas in a Supreme Court case filed by Senator Sergio Osmen concerning the Naga Thermal Power Plant.

Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose

Lawyers at Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose handle civil, commercial, criminal, tax and other litigation before judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. Name partner Ancheta Tan is the key contact.

Ortega Bacorro Odulio Calma & Carbonell

Ortega Bacorro Odulio Calma & Carbonell has particular specialisms in IP and shipping. Many of its key clients are longstanding, though it continues to expand its client base with new clients in various industries. Highlights for the dispute resolution practice included acting for broadsheet the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which is of nationwide circulation, in cases filed against it for libel; Fortunato Pagdanganan, who was recently promoted to partner, led on the case.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Carbonell

Other key lawyers:

Fortunato Pagdanganan; Benjamin Bacorro; Elizer Odulio

Key clients

GlaxoSmithKline

Bayer

Takeda

NBA Properties

Takeda

Lincoln Electric

The Harris Group

Emperador Distillers

Samsung Electronics

Emperador Distillers

Work highlights

  • Defended the Philippine Daily Inquirer in libel litigation.
  • Represents shipowners from P&I clubs in various shipping claims.

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles handles commercial disputes that deal with a broad range of civil, criminal, administrative and regulatory issues.

Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion & Lucila

Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion & Lucila's practice covers all courts and all types of dispute, both civil and commercial. Gener Asuncion is the key name.

Del Rosario & Del Rosario

Shipping and maritime specialist firm Del Rosario & Del Rosario handles a range of sector-specific disputes, where it represents shipowners, ship managers and shipping insurance companies. In a claim for port damage, the team represented a client in the successful settlement of a claim after more than four years of litigation. Elsewhere, the team acted for a P&I club to successfully suspend a domestic action in favour of international arbitration. Joseph Rebano and Saben Loyola often take lead roles on the department's major cases.

Practice head(s):

Ruben Del Rosario; Arturo Del Rosario Jr

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Rebano; Saben Loyola

Work highlights

  • Assisted a client in successfully settling a claim for port damage after more than four years of litigation.
  • Assisted fifteen international clients – including ship owners and managers – in filing claims in Philippines bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Acted for a P&I club to suspend a domestic action in favour of foreign arbitration.

Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra

Though it may be better known for its corporate and capital markets practices, Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra also has a significant litigation offering. Many of its clients in dispute resolution are domestic companies, and it also acts for individuals. The team has experience in high-profile civil and commercial litigation, and arbitration also features. In 2018, the practice was bolstered by the arrival of experienced litigator Ramon Andre Cedro from Fortun Narvasa & Salazar.

Practice head(s):

Francis Africa; Ramon Andre Cedro

Key clients

ALT Cladding

JGLaw

JGLaw undertakes both civil and criminal litigation. Clients come from a range of sectors including aviation and banking.

Mosveldtt Law

Mosveldtt Law 'thinks outside of the box and is creative enough to suggest a solution to the client'. It advises clients in highly technical and regulated areas, including energy, infrastructure and finance, and has recently seen an uptick in arbitration. The firm also stands out for its handling of public interest litigation. Aldrich Fitz Dy's dispute resolution expertise spans civil, commercial, criminal and intellectual property cases, including mass tort actions, environmental cases and corporate rehabilitation and insolvency. Senior associate Darwin Angeles is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Nicolas Felix Ty; Jerry Coloma; Aldrich Fitz Dy

Other key lawyers:

Darwin Angeles; Sheena Marie Morales

Testimonials

The team has shown its resolve to use methods outside the traditional means of solving complex problems‘.

Nicolas Felix Ty, Jerry Coloma and Darwin Angeles deserve particular mention. They meet deadlines, no matter how short the time is‘.

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos  handles a range of litigation and dispute resolution matters before all courts and agencies in the Philippines.

Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso

The litigation group at Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso has acted for individual and corporate clients in major commercial litigation of every kind. Orencio Ibarra heads the practice.