Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia > Manila, Philippines > Firm Profile

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Philippines > Dispute resolution Tier 1

John Jerico Balisnomo heads the practice at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia, which has a stellar reputation in the market. It is particularly well-regarded for its work across commercial, tax, banking and administrative litigation, as well as for its expertise in all aspects of regulatory contentious matters. The group also excels in alternative dispute resolution and insolvency proceedings. In addition, it has a strong appellate practice. Rodel Cruz represents a wide range of clients from leading companies and conglomerates to high-net-worth individuals. Senior partner Miguel Silos is another leading figure who has a strong track record in cases involving bank fraud and debt restructuring. Silos is also recognised for his work on cases relating to international trade, taxation and other forms of civil and criminal litigation. Simeon Marcelo is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

John Jerico Balisnomo


Other key lawyers:

Rodel Cruz; Miguel Silos; Simeon Marcelo; Victor Emmanuel Pangilinan


‘The team are very friendly, you can ask anything you want. You can learn from the team. They listen carefully and give you not only what you need to know but what needs to be done.’

‘The CMT team 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.’

‘The depth of the team’s experience in the practice and the members’ ability to give comprehensive advice that covers the practical aspects of the proceedings and the various approaches available, make this practice group of Cruz Marcelo Tenefrancia very competitive.’

‘The attentiveness and the consideration of the client’s particular circumstances in crafting advice. ’

‘The team is very responsive, and does not have your typical big law firm mentality of sending four to five lawyers for every case handled, and charging you hourly rates for all the four to five lawyers. You get good service of a big law firm, without the big charges that come with many big law firms.’

‘The following are all exceptional service-oriented lawyers: Victor Emmanuel M. Pangilinan and Miguel U. Silos.’

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 Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Unicapital, Inc in a case against a Philippine medical services corporation and its former president/CEO for the non-payment of a loan that was obtained through false representations.

Philippines > Intellectual property Tier 1

The ‘very responsive and efficient’ team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia is highly regarded for its provision of 'excellent quality' work and its 'exceptional client engagement'. Susan D. Villanueva is at the helm of the practice, which represents thousands of IP interests worldwide. Villanueva is a skilled litigator in IP matters and in enforcement cases. Key practitioner Patricia Bunye has a wealth of experience in IP commercialisation matters, as well as on regulatory cases involving food and drug administration. Divina Gracia Pedron regularly advises on brand protection, trademarks and copyright enforcement, and is experienced in civil, administrative and criminal prosecutions in that regard. Another notable member of the department is Rowanie Nakan who heads the patent group at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Susan D. Villanueva

Other key lawyers:


‘Patricia Bunye is very hands-on and personally sees to it that the matters being handled by their firm for our organisation are managed well. She and her team are easy to work with and quick to respond. We have received sound and practical legal advice from their team.’ 

‘Rowanie Nakan has always been collaborative and the team provide recommendations on how to proceed and let us know the consequences of choosing various options.’

‘Not many local law firms that have an IP department know the nuances of Fine Art. This team knows the nuances and are genuinely interested and able to collaborate with us in creating solutions and strategies for our issues.’ 

‘Susan Villanueva and Divine Pedron both are really professional and yet make clients feel that their concerns are important. They are really knowledgeable in IP and are both into art and thus understand the cultural nuances and implications of courses of action. Working with them is enlightening and reassuring.’

‘Very qualified in IP knowledge and processes – very organised and process driven – communication is excellent – always on top of timeline for submission of documents – great at negotiation – gets the job done when needed in a timely manner.’

‘Patricia Bunye and Carlo Valerio are very knowledgeable in IP – very patient, structured in discussions – capable of explaining IP and process – present and available when needed.’

‘The team takes advantage of its pool of associates. Rowanie Nakan is a reliable and consistent counsel for our company’s IP-related matters.’

‘The whole CMT team has always been very hands-on in terms of providing very sound legal advice. They have oriented us very well and have given us valued insights that were not known to us or available to us prior to our engagement.’

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.

Unilab, Inc.

Ayala Group Legal

Max’s Group, Inc.

Vice Cosmetics Group Inc.

University of the Philippines (UP) through its constituent units (i.e., UP – Manila and UP Diliman)

Oriente Express Techsystem Corporation (“Cashalo”)

Filinvest Development Corporation/Filinvest Hospitality Corporation/Chroma Hospitality Inc. (collectively the “Filinvest Group”)

Makati Development Corporation

Marine Resources Development Corporation

Metromart Technologies, Inc.

Zalora SEA

Technological Institute of the Philippines

Green Cross, Inc.

Oceanic Empire Limited

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company; The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (Phils.), Inc.

Fundacion Sanso

DBDOYC, Inc. (doing business as Angkas Philippines)

Fiberworld, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Oceanic Empire Limited (Oceanic) in obtaining favourable decisions involving oppositions filed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, LLC to Oceanic’s 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 (UP), particularly UP Diliman and UP Manila.

Philippines > Projects and energy Tier 1

The very experienced team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has a solid reputation for its work on a broad-range of projects, and has considerable expertise in the renewable energy sector. It garners praise for its work on the development of water rights, in conjunction with its work on major mining and natural resources projects. Senior partner Manuel Manaligod is vastly experienced in infrastructure and public-private partnership transactions. Patricia Bunye has significant experience in a broad-range of mining, natural resources and energy projects Also recommended is Pancho Umali who has a wide-range of experience in corporate deals and projects, as well as in handling mining, energy and natural resources issues. Francis Fragante was promoted to the partnership in January 2023 and has notably advised the government on numerous infrastructure, build-operate-transfer, and public-private partnership projects.

Practice head(s):

Manuel Manaligod; Patricia Bunye

Other key lawyers:


‘As a foreign investor, their report helped me understand the energy law in the Philippines. They have good teamwork capabilities and  wide practical experience in this field.’

‘The people are very professional. Their advice is always on time and thorough.’

‘The team is very approachable, professional and friendly and experienced in many fields in any industry.’

‘I think experience, professionalism and willingness to deliver a certain solution in a short period of time are all key to the firm’s success.’

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

Air Liquide Philippines, Inc.

Liansheng Manufacturing Corp.


JSCO Holdings Ltd Co

Holcim Philippines, Inc.

Asian Terminals, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising Sagittarius Mines, Inc. regarding the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, prospectively the largest copper-gold project in the Philippines.
  • Advising the consortiums specifically organised to develop & implement the C5 Metro Rail Transit Line 10 Project and Metro Rail Transit Line 11 Project.
  • Advised a leading renewable company on a potential acquisition of shares in four companies engaged in various wind offshore projects in different parts of the Philippines, whose current projects have the potential of generating 2,450MW of electricity.

Philippines > Real estate and construction Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia is well-equipped to handle the full spectrum of real estate construction, development, and transactional matters. The practice also caters to advising on financing, restructuring arrangements and joint development agreements. Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera co-heads the team with Rosa Michele Bagtas, who assists clients with the acquisition and disposal of condominiums. Manuel Manaligod is experienced in infrastructure transactions, while Pancho Umali assists clients with land and environmental issues. Francis Fragante often advises government bodies on PPP projects.

Practice head(s):

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera; Rosa Michele Bagtas

Other key lawyers:

Manuel Manaligod; Pancho Umali; Francis Fragante; Fernand Joseph Miranda; Eric Dykimching; Karla Ysabel Galang

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.

Landco Pacific Corporation

Costa de Madera Landholdings, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Conducted due diligence for a real estate company on over 154 parcels of land located at San Juan, Batangas.
  • Advised the Philippine Public-Private Partnership Center in the proposed development project of the Philippine Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Philippines > Corporate and M&A Tier 3

Under the leadership of Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera, the team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia advises on a wide array of deals. It is sought after for its advice to domestic and international clients on issues relating to their investment in the Philippines. Other areas of focus include advising on compliance matters, joint venture agreements and all aspects of M&A. It is also recommended for its work on issues as diverse as dissolutions, spin-offs and corporate divestments. Senior partner Manuel L. Manaligod, Jr. has a wealth of experience in infrastructure and public-private partnership deals. Rosa Michele Bagtas and Pancho Umali are among the other senior members of the department, while Patricia Bunye oversees corporate issues for mining projects.

Practice head(s):

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera

Other key lawyers:

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 a leading renewable company on a potential acquisition of shares in four companies engaged in various wind offshore projects in different parts of the Philippines, whose current projects have the potential of generating 2,450MW of electricity.
  • Provides a comprehensive legal service to Sagittarius Mines, Inc with respect to its Tampakan Copper-Gold Project and two separate bans on open-pit mining issued by the provincial government of South Cotabato and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The Tampakan Project is seen to be one of the top ten largest copper mines in the world upon operation.
  • Provided assistance to Space Exploration Technologies Corp with respect to the possible investment structure, regulatory risks and compliance requirements to enable Space X and Starlink to venture into the Philippine market.

Philippines > Labour and employment Tier 3

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.

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia Promotes Rowanie A. Nakan to Senior Partner and Anica Angela G. Gomez to Senior Associate Effective 01 January 2024

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia is pleased to announce the well-deserved promotions of the Intellectual Property Department’s Rowanie A. Nakan to Senior Partner and Anica Angela G. Gomez to Senior Associate effective 01 January 2024.