Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia > Manila, Philippines > Firm Profile

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Philippines > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has a strong track record in commercial, tax and banking litigation, in addition to all forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It also has a thriving appellate practice, as well as a dynamic administrative, regulatory, insolvency and rehabilitation disputes practice. John Jerico Balisnomo leads the team and acts for a range of foreign and local clients, while Simeon Marcelo is well-regarded for his expertise in high-profile tax and fraud cases. Rodel Cruz has experience in commercial, corporate and tax litigation, while also garnering praise for its capability in handling enforcement cases. Senior partner Miguel Silos is another key contact in the group.

Practice head(s):

John Jerico Balisnomo

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia stands out for its professionalism and ease in communication. They are always ready to talk to us and come up with solutions.’

‘Miguel Silos is consistently reliable and presents practical options to problems.’

Key clients

Ayala Corporation

Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association

Secur Links Network and Technologies, Inc.

Unicapital Inc.

Alpha Plus Property Holdings Corporation

Dole Food Company, Inc.

Max’s Group, Inc.

Yujuico Group of Companies

Union Bank of the Philippines

Redco Properties Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Alpha Plus Property Holdings Corporation on its concerns and issues involving real estate transactions.
  • Advised Secur Links in a successful arbitration proceeding against the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Republic of the Philippines for the latter’s continued failure and refusal to pay the total contract price.
  • Advised Unicapital, Inc. in a case against a Philippine corporation involved in medical services, and its then-President and Chief Executive Officer, involving the non-payment of a loan which was incurred through the latter’s false representations.

Philippines > Intellectual property Tier 1

The ‘collaborative and knowledgeable’ team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia is led by ‘exceptional’ Susan Villanueva, who specialises in patent litigation and enforcement cases. The practice covers the full spectrum of IP matters, from the protection of business models, trade secrets and undisclosed information to the registration of trademarks and patents. It is also recommended for its work relating to the safe deposit of copyrighted work. The team also excels in advising on the registration of technology transfer agreements, in addition to handling administrative, civil and criminal cases concerning food and drug safety laws. Patricia Bunye is noted for her expertise in licensing and franchising matters, while Divina Gracia Pedron focuses on brand protection, trademark and copyright enforcement cases. Head of the patent team, Rowanie Nakan, is another key figure.

Practice head(s):

Susan Villanueva


‘Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia’s IP team is very collaborative and knowledgeable when it comes to the process of IP cases in the Philippines.’

‘Rowanie Nakan is somebody who will provide you with details, possible outcomes, and steps on what to do during worst case scenarios.’

‘Susan Villanueva has enlightened us and truly gave us good legal counsel. Her team is quick to aid and is always proactive in its approach.’

‘Susan Villanueva is one of the most brilliant individuals I know and she does not use her brilliance to intimidate or alienate, instead, she uses it to enlighten and give good counsel.’

‘Works quickly and efficiently, great overall knowledge base.’

‘Cruz Marcelo always reports deadlines ahead of time.’

‘Susan Villanueva manages the prosecution of our trademark portfolio. She has been exceptional, high attention to detail and proactive in reporting of issues.’

Key clients

JT International SA

In-N-Out, Burgers, Inc.

PT. Inertia Utama (Dexa Group)

Department of Science and Technology – Technology Application and Promotion Institute

San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc.

United Laboratories, Inc.

Ayala Group Legal

Max’s Group, Inc.

Vice Cosmetics Group Inc.

University of the Philippines

Oriente Express Techsystem Corporation (“Cashalo”)

Chroma Hospitality Inc./Filinvest Hospitality Corporation

Makati Development Corporation

Marine Resources Development Corporation

Metromart Technologies, Inc.

Zalora SEA

Work highlights

  • Represented Oceanic Empire Limited in obtaining favourable decisions involving oppositions to its applications for the “WGLOBALCENTER” and “WHIGHSTREET” marks.
  • Represented In-N-Out Burgers in successfully opposing a trademark application filed by an international chain of restaurants/ café which appropriated its trade name and mark.
  • Handled the patent portfolio of the Philippines’ national state university – The University of the Philippines.

Philippines > Projects and energy Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has a strong reputation for its work on an array of projects and considerable strength in the renewable energy sector, particularly the development of water rights, alongside experience in key mining and natural resources projects. Under the joint leadership of Manuel Manaligod and Patricia Bunye, the group frequently advises multilateral international organisations, local government units and private corporations on large transportation and infrastructure projects. Senior partner Pancho Umali has a broad range of experience in corporate deals and projects as well as mining, energy and natural resources issues, while newly-promoted partner Eric Dykimching is recommended for his work on government projects and PPPs.

Practice head(s):

Manuel Manaligod; Patricia Bunye

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Filminera Resources Corporation

Sagittarius Mines, Inc.

Therma Visayas, Inc.

DMCI Power Corporation

Green Energy Management Holdings, Inc.

Nido Petroleum Philippines Pty Ltd

Cemex Strategies Philippines, Inc.

W Group, Inc./Portuguese Realty, Inc.

Redco Properties Group Limited

W Ventures, Inc.

Red Core Geothermal

Aboitiz Renewables, Inc.

Public-Private Partnership Center

C5 Mass Transit Corporation Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Sagittarius Mines, Inc. regarding the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, prospectively the largest copper-gold project in the Philippines.
  • Advising a consortium with respect to the unsolicited proposal for the construction and development of a light railway-based mass transportation system over an alignment traversing six key cities.
  • Advising a consortium with respect to the unsolicited proposal for the construction and development of a light railway-based mass transportation system over an alignment traversing four key cities.

Philippines > Real estate and construction Tier 2

The skilled team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia, which is jointly led by Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera and Rosa Michele Bagtas, acts for both foreign and local investors on a range of real estate and property development matters. Senior partner Manuel Manaligod has a wealth of experience advising on infrastructure projects and PPPs, while Fernand Joseph Miranda is another key contact, who focuses on project development and finance matters. The team is also noted for its work with major companies on bulk acquisitions and disposals of condominium units in the Philippines.

Practice head(s):

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera; Rosa Michele Bagtas


‘The team has a diversity of expertise that covers most, if not all my legal concerns. I admire the practicality of the team in approaching problems outside of the legal framework and presenting to us the realities of going to court. Furthermore, the legal advice is always comprehensive as well as practical.’

‘Individually, I am very comfortable with my relationships with the lawyers of CMT. They are trustworthy, full of wisdom, proactive and they give sound advice.’

Key clients

W Group, Inc.

Portuguese Land, Inc.

Abraham Holdings, Inc.

Italpinas Development Corp.

IRMO, Inc.

Baltimore Land, Inc.

Citigold Resources and Development Corporation

LuxPacific Realty Corporation

ILO Properties, Inc.

ILO Land, Inc.

Mapex Realty, Inc.

Asian Development Bank / Philippine Public-Private Partnership Center (PPPC)

PRI Realty, Inc.

Portuguese Land, Inc.

Haus Talk, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised a real estate developer in its sale of two prime real properties in Metro Manila.
  • Advised the Philippine Public-Private Partnership Center (through the Asian Development Bank), in the proposed development project of the Philippine Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.
  • Advised a corporation in the tourism/hospitality industry in its proposed sale of its sprawling property in a prime location in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, worth approximately PhP1.4bn.

Philippines > Corporate and M&A Tier 3

Led by Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera, the team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia handles a broad range of transactions and is highly regarded for its advice to local and foreign clients on their investments into the Philippines, in addition to compliance matters. It is also adept at advising on joint ventures and covers all aspects of M&As, from due diligence to post-closing requirements. Senior partner Manuel Manaligod is vastly experienced in infrastructure and public partnership deals, while Patricia Bunye has demonstrable experience across the mining, natural resources and energy sectors. Rosa Michele Bagtas and Pancho Umali are key contacts in the group.

Practice head(s):

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera


‘Readily available, reliable, consistent, deep knowledge of the issues and timely in responding.’

Key clients

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Certara Philippines, Inc.

Asian Terminals, Inc.

ABS-CBN Corporation

Unicapital, Inc.

W Group of Companies

Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

Aboitiz Power Corporation

Suyen Corporation

Seven Bank, Ltd.

Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc.

Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc.

BF Jade E-Services Philippines, Inc. (ZALORA PH)

Sta. Lucia Land, Inc.

Unilever Group of Companies

Lazada E-Services Philippines, Inc.

Connected Freight Solutions Philippines, Inc.

Lamsan Holdings Corp.

Sony Global Business Services Inc.

DOLE Philippines, Inc.

PTFC Redevelopment Corporation

PayMongo Philippines, Inc.

Kepwealth Properties Philippines, Inc.

Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.

Peak Support Global Enterprises, Inc.

Advanced Assembly Materials Philippines, Inc.

UNObank Inc.

Zed Financial, Inc.

Maven Clinic

Work highlights

  • Advised Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. and Aboitiz & Co., Inc. in the acquisition of 27% stake in Aboitiz Power Corporation by JERA Asia Private Limited, with an amount of $1.5bn.
  • Advised on the acquisition of an aggregate 75% stake by Sojitz Corporation in LBS Digital Infrastructure Corp. The transaction is estimated to amount to $63m.
  • Advised and assisted Furukawa Japan in its: (a) the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Lemtech PH (the “Share Sale”); and (b) the merger between Lemtech PH and Furukawa PH (a wholly owned subsidiary of Furukawa Japan) after the completion of the Share Sale. The transaction amounted to $2.4m.

Philippines > Labour and employment Tier 3

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia advises clients on collective bargaining arrangements and employment contracts, in addition to representing clients on contentious cases before quasi-judicial agencies, all the way to the local appellate courts. Senior partner Elmar Galacio, who advises on employment litigation, jointly leads the team alongside Rogelio Torres.

Practice head(s):

Elmar Galacio; Rogelio Torres


‘CMT Law is very competent and they have the best lawyers. They are professional and always provide the best legal advice. They handle our cases properly and we know that we are in good hands.’

‘The lawyers are very dedicated. They are always available and approachable. Elmar Galacio is a standout partner.’

Key clients

Technological Institute of the Philippines

Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation

Quality Corrugated Box Manufacturing Corporation

Collabera Technologies Private Limited, Inc.

Formula Sports Inc.

Yujuico Group of Companies


Philippines > Antitrust and competition

Led by Victor Emmanuel M. PangilinanRamon Alcasabas and Fernand Joseph Miranda, the practice at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia advises on a wide array of antitrust investigations and disputes, as well as handling the competition aspects of M&As.

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 has expertise 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
Photo Name Position Profile
Rosa Michele C. Bagtas photo Ms Rosa Michele C. Bagtas •Corporate and Commercial Law •Mergers & Acquisitions •Property Development & Real Estate…
Patricia A. O. Bunye photo Ms Patricia A. O. Bunye •Intellectual Property •Mining and Natural Resources / Energy
Rodel A. Cruz photo Mr Rodel A. Cruz •Head, Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department •Deputy Managing Partner (Personnel) •Senior Partner
Elmar B. Galacio photo Mr Elmar B. Galacio Senior Partner
Rowanie Nakan photo Ms Rowanie Nakan Partner
Victor Emmanuel M. Pangilinan photo Mr Victor Emmanuel M. Pangilinan Senior Partner
Divina Gracia E. Pedron photo Ms Divina Gracia E. Pedron •Intellectual Property
Aida Araceli G. Roxas-Rivera photo Ms Aida Araceli G. Roxas-Rivera Senior Partner
Pancho G. Umali photo Mr Pancho G. Umali Partner
Susan D. Villanueva photo Ms Susan D. Villanueva •Intellectual Property •Taxation •Trade
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.