Firm Profile > Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia > Manila, Philippines

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Dispute resolution Tier 1

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


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


Intellectual property Tier 1

The 'flexible' IP team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia advises on IP commercialisation and marketing, patent applications, unfair competition and domain name issues. Its lawyers have backgrounds in physics, chemistry and engineering, among other fields, and some members of the team are qualified as patent agents. On the contentious side, the team has experience in administrative and judicial tribunals at all levels. The team also stands out for its particular knowledge of the pharma sector, where it advises major companies on contentious and non-contentious IP matters. Department head Susan Villanueva represents companies in the broadcasting, consumer care, pharma, IT, manufacturing and financial services sectors in IP cases.

Practice head(s):

Susan Villanueva

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Bunye; Divina Gracia Pedron; Criselda Santiago; Carlo Valerio


The team is flexible in its delivery of final IP valuations. Each comment was individually acknowledged and resolved, and the lawyers were quick to adapt to the increasing requirements demanded of their output‘.

Key clients

Unilab, Inc.

Novex Science PTE Limited


Siemens AG

Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation

JT International, SA

Ferrero S.p.A.

Xerox Corporation

Garmin International, Inc.

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Mundipharma AG

Cipla Limited

University of the Philippines

Dole Philippines, Inc.

Filinvest Land, Inc.

Ayala Corporation

Ten Knots Philippines, Inc.

Ortigas & Company, Limited Partnership

Technological Institute of the Philippines

Nestle Philippines, Inc.

San Miguel Pure Foods, Inc.

Green Cross, Inc.

La Filipina Uy Gongco

Immigration Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia provides a comprehensive immigration service, covering immigrant, employee and retiree visas, work permits (including AEP), Philippine citizenship processes, naturalisation proceedings and deportation and exclusion proceedings. Recent instructions have come from longstanding clients, and the practice has also picked up several new clients, including companies in the media and manufacturing sectors. Senior partner Rosa Michele Bagtas heads the department; she draws on 20 years' experience advising on immigration law, and has additional knowledge of corporate and M&A, capital markets and real estate.

Practice head(s):

Rosa Michele Bagtas

Other key lawyers:

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera; Pancho Umali

Key clients

BVI (Philippines) Corporation

Therma Luzon

ABS-CBN Corporation

Sincere Facade Innovation

KSB Philippines

Play Innovations

Satellite Office Solutions

Fox International Channels Philippines Corporation

Interior Resource Network

Pito Axm Platform

Projects and energy Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia advises multilateral international organisations, local government units and private corporations in energy, water, mining and infrastructure projects. Areas of expertise include PPPs, project finance, permitting, M&A, joint ventures and project operating agreements. It also handles litigation and arbitration involving the extractive industries. Patricia Bunye advises Sagittarius Mines on various legal matters, including those pertaining to its Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, which faces significant hurdles before it may operate, including the cancellation of its environmental compliance certificate. Pancho Umali stands out for his extensive knowledge of indigenous peoples' law, and Manuel Manaligod Jr has particular knowledge of infrastructure projects that utilise build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) schemes.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Bunye; Manuel Manaligod Jr

Other key lawyers:

Pancho Umali; Eric Dykimching; Fernand Joseph Miranda; Alpheus Macalalad; Francis Fragante


This firm provides quality service‘.

The professionals in Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia provide on-time and high quality legal opinions‘.

Very commercial and well connected. Strong experience in the industry. Provides reliable and well considered advice‘.

Key clients

Sagittarius Mines, Inc.

RTG Mining Inc.

Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation

Green Energy Management & Holdings, Inc.

Filminera Resources Corporation

Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines

Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

CHC Resources Corporation

AGP International Holdings Ltd.

Cemex Strategic Philippines, Inc.

Tewet Philippines, Inc.

Real estate and construction Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has experience in commercial, residential, industrial, and mixed-use real estate projects, and its clients include multilateral international organisations, local government units and private corporations. The team often advises on the purchase (including the due diligence) of real estate. Recently, Divina Gracia Pedron and a team assisted the Korean Embassy in the Philippines in the negotiation of a sale agreement for the acquisition of land and/or office condominium units in Metro Manila for the use of the Korean Cultural Center Philippines. Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera and Manuel Manaligod are names to note.

Practice head(s):

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera; Manuel Manaligod

Other key lawyers:

Rosa Michelle Bagtas; Pancho Umali; Divina Gracia Pedron

Key clients

W Group, Inc.

Baltimore Land, Inc.

Luxpacific Realty, Inc.

Korean Embassy in the Philippines

Corporate and M&A Tier 3

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia 'delivers in a timely manner and with reasonable rates'. The corporate team handles a varied mix of corporate, energy and infrastructure projects for its foreign and local clients, which include transport, agriculture, real estate, construction and energy companies. Among its recent highlights was the team's advice to Asian Terminals on the establishment of a PEZA Integrated Port Facility backed with service level agreements for provision of port terminal services; the firm assisted with the drafting of transaction documents and establishing the project company and its post-registration requirements. Aida Roxas-Rivera heads the corporate practice; Rosa Michelle Bagtas and associate Fernand Joseph Miranda are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Aida Roxas-Rivera

Other key lawyers:

Avelino Cruz; Manuel Manaligod; Rosa Michelle Bagtas; Pancho Umali; Fernand Joseph Miranda


The firm has a very good grasp of the nuances of local government policies and links with regulatory agencies‘.

Rosa Michelle Bagtas and associate Fernand Joseph Miranda are very easy to talk to and accessible. They work proactively in conducting due diligence and coordinating with the regulatory agencies‘.

Key clients

Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Aboitiz Power Corporation

ABS-CBN Corporation

Dole Philippines

W Group

Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation


Sony Global Business Services

Unilever Group of Companies

Asian Terminals

PTFC Redevelopment Corporation

Total Philippine Corporation


Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

East West Rail Transit Corporation

Synchrogenix Philippines

Tradition Homes Project Managers Development

The firm: 15 partners with sterling professional reputations, led by former Presidential Legal Counsel/Secretary of National Defence Avelino Cruz Jr and former Solicitor General/Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, founded Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia to establish a lasting legal institution anchored on professionalism, meritocracy, innovation and mutual respect. Its leadership is rich in experience in both public and private sectors as well as in international organisations. The firm is committed to delivering the best legal services to help its clients attain optimum business success, as well as promoting public interest.

The firm’s lawyers have over three decades of experience in litigation and alternative dispute resolution, corporate and special projects, mining and natural resources, energy, infrastructure, transportation and public utilities, intellectual property, and taxation. By matching arduous training of its associates with the expansive experience of its partners (which also enables it to attract top legal talents), the firm has earned a reputation of delivering tailored solutions to its broad spectrum of clients, including established conglomerates, leading banking and financial institutions, multinational corporations and even entire industries and government regulatory institutions like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines).

Areas of practice: Litigation and dispute resolution: regarded as a top litigation firm in the country, the firm consistently provides exceptional representation and advocacy in every forum, involving disputes of varying scope and complexity. The firm practises in the following areas: trial advocacy and commercial litigation; international commercial arbitration; banking and financial fraud litigation; tax litigation; appellate practice; corporate rehabilitation; labour litigation; regulatory litigation and alternative dispute resolution.

Corporate and special projects: beyond providing in-depth legal solutions to complex legal and business issues and transactions that protect and add value to each client’s interests and business objectives, the firm functions to guarantee clients quality and timely service according to their needs in corporate and special projects including the following areas: mergers and acquisitions; capital markets; securities regulation and finance; banking and finance; debt restructuring and corporate reorganisation; gaming; property development and real estate transactions; tourism and leisure; infrastructure; trade and competition; and immigration.

Intellectual property: the firm’s IP lawyers are from diverse backgrounds representing the sciences, businesses and the arts and are equipped with the expertise and experience to counsel on protecting, enforcing and commercialising clients’ IP.

Mining and natural resources: the firm’s young and dynamic mining and natural resources department is recognised for its highly-skilled mining lawyers and a conscientious, responsive and proactive team. Its exceptional work in the mining industry has placed the firm at the legal forefront of the country’s mining industry.

Energy: the firm’s energy department advises investors, private equity funds, lenders, contractors and suppliers on the appropriate transaction and governance structures of mergers and acquisitions, including development, financing, operation, sale and distribution projects in the power and energy sector. Its lawyers have represented various clients in successfully obtaining required government accreditation and permits and also routinely negotiate, draft and review agreements and contracts necessary to implement complex transactions in this field.

Department Name Email Telephone
Litigation and dispute resolution Simeon V Marcelo
Litigation and dispute resolution Rodel A Cruz
International arbitration Simeon V Marcelo
International arbitration Elmar B Galacio
Corporate and commercial Manuel L Manaligod Jr
Corporate and commercial Aida Araceli G Roxas-Rivera
Intellectual property Susan D Villanueva
Intellectual property Patricia A O Bunye
Intellectual property Divina Gracia E Pedron
Intellectual property Rowanie A Wakan
Mining and natural resources Patricia A O Bunye
Mining and natural resources Pancho G Umali
Energy Patricia A O Bunye
Energy Pancho G Umali
Labour Elmar B Galacio
Taxation Aida Araceli G Roxas-Rivera
Taxation Rosa Michelle C Bagtas
Taxation John Jerico L Balisnomo
Taxation Victor E M Pangilinan
Infrastructure, transportation and public utilities Manuel L Manaligod Jr
Infrastructure, transportation and public utilities Pancho G Umali
Gaming Manuel L Manaligod Jr
Gaming Aida Araceli G Roxas-Rivera
Immigration Rosa Michele C Bagtas
Real estate and construction Rosa Michele C Bagtas
Real estate and construction Pancho G Umali
Number of lawyers : 58
Inter-Pacific Bar Association
Contacts : Joe Nathan Tenefrancia
Contacts : Rodel A Cruz
Contacts : Manuel L Manaligod Jr
Contacts : Susan D Villanueva
Contacts : Patricia A O Bunye

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia Diversity Statement

At Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia, we believe that diversity and inclusion nurture creativity and innovative problem-solving, which are among the pillars of the Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia brand of service. We value the range of perspectives and experiences that having a diverse pool of human resources provides. We understand that inclusive organizations attract and retain top talents.  Thus, we are committed to fostering a workplace environment where teamwork is valued and differences are considered advantages.

Our Hiring and Company Policies reflect our commitment to inclusion and diversity. By attracting, supporting, promoting and retaining individuals from various backgrounds, whether grounded in gender, orientation, abilities, age, faith, cultural background and other characteristics, we have created a vibrant firm that is consistently able to provide creative and quality advice to, and representation of, our clients.

As advocates for diversity and inclusion, Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia undertakes to promote diversity initiatives at all levels in the legal profession and the broader business community.