Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia > Manila, Philippines > Firm Profile

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Philippines > Dispute resolution Tier 1

The substantial litigation and dispute resolution department of Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia provides advice to an impressive range of domestic and foreign clients. Key work covers commercial, tax and banking litigation, alternative dispute resolution, appellate cases, administrative and regulatory litigation, and insolvency and rehabilitation proceedings. John Jerico L. Balisnomo heads the team and has experience in representing clients before every level of the judiciary and administrative venues. Simeon V. Marcelo handles high-profile tax, fraud, and hostile takeover cases. Miguel U. Silos handles a wide range of litigation and arbitration cases, while Rodel A. Cruz focuses on public policy-related disputes.

Practice head(s):


‘Miguel U. Silos and his team are very impressive.’

‘Miguel U. Silos is my go-to lawyer if I am looking for Philippine lawyers. I am very satisfied with his hard-working attitude.’

‘The CM&T team is very authentic on top of their very hardworking, legally proficient, and direct attitude.’

‘The team is very quick to respond to the client’s concerns and billing is never a problem as they are very efficient in their work.’

‘The unique approach of CMT encouraged me to be more insightful rather than being ’emotional’ which I think puts them above the competition.’

‘Billing wise, I am pleased with the accurateness and even the considerations they have extended to me. Very commendable, and very professional.’

‘Very professional and competent. Very sincere. I felt their support every step of the way.’

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 their real estate transactions.
  • Advised Secur Links on 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. on 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

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia provides a full range of IP services ranging from trademark maintenance and monitoring to patent litigation. The practice is led by Susan Villanueva who is known as an expert in patent litigation, especially regarding pharmaceutical patents. Villaneuva was lead counsel in a dispute involving a high-profile drug where the firm successfully defended the client in the patent infringement suit. Divina Gracia E. Pedron is recognised as a ‘reliable and trusted adviser for matters involving intellectual property protection’. 

Practice head(s):


‘The team is very responsive, professional and provides the needed information quickly.’

‘Great in providing insights, recommendations and always available.’

‘The team is attentive, responsive, and collaborative in its approach to engagement management. The team has a reliable network of foreign correspondent firms that facilitate trademark registration in other jurisdictions.’

‘Divina Pedron is a reliable and trusted adviser for matters involving intellectual property protection, particularly for our international franchising arm. Her responses to routine queries are always comprehensive and timely and we depend on her advice and assistance when dealing with material and urgent issues concerning the registration of our trademarks offshore. She has a good grasp of the commercial dimension of our engagements and considers the same in crafting the plan of action.’

Key clients

JT International

In-N-Out, Burgers

PT. Inertia Utama (Dexa Group)

Department of Science and Technology – Technology Application and Promotion Institute

San Miguel Food and Beverage

United Laboratories

Ayala Group Legal

Max’s Group

Vice Cosmetics Group

University of the Philippines

Lazada E-Service Philippines

Oriente Express Techsystem Corporation

Chroma Hospitality/ Filinvest Hospitality Corporation

Makati Development Corporation

Marine Resources Development Corporation

Metromart Technologies

Work highlights

  • Represented Lazada in proceedings relating to the reclassification and reassignment of a complaint filed against it from an ordinary court to a special commercial court with the authority to handle intellectual property cases.
  • Advised Sunmaru on the enforcement of it’s mark against a confusingly similar mark filed by a one of the most popular retailers of luxury jewellery which covers non-competing goods but within client’s normal expansion of business.
  • Advised Nestle Philippines on obtaining the appropriate Certificates of Compliance covering the licensing contracts between NPI and its mother company, within two weeks of the initial request.

Philippines > Projects and energy Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has ‘unique expertise’ in renewable energy and has advised some of the biggest players in the Philippines on their green energy projects. The firm advised Red Core Geothermal on the development of its three geothermal power plants, the San Juan Geothermal Project, the Tayabas-Lucban Geothermal Project, and the Tiaong-Dolores project. The firm also advises clients in the mining and natural resources sectors, providing corporate structuring, permitting, contract drafting and review, and due diligence support. Key mining clients include Sagittarius Mines and Labo Exploration and Development Corporation. Patricia Bunye stands out as being an ‘expert in mining laws and natural resources’ and leads the practice alongside Manuel Manaligod. Pancho Umali has cross-sector experience in mining, natural resources and energy law. At associate level, Alpheus Macalalad stands out.  

Practice head(s):


‘The CMT team keeps itself and me abreast on the latest developments, not only in energy but in possible related concerns. They double-check the work before it’s given to me for review or consideration. They’re all amiable and very competent. They constantly upgrade their skills, showing that they have a desire to render the best possible service they can to clients. Their updates to me are also timely and well-coordinated.’

‘They have unique expertise and have garnered experience over many years in the practice of mining laws in the Philippines.’

‘Patricia Bunye and her team stand out as the foremost expert in mining laws, natural resources and related field in the country today. The wealth of their combined experience, diligence to details and comprehensive understanding of the issues placed them in a unique position a cut above the competition’.

Key clients

Filminera Resources Corporation

Sagittarius Mines

Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation

RTG Mining

Green Energy Management Holdings

Nido Petroleum Philippines

Cemex Strategies Philippines

W Group, Inc./Portuguese Realty

Redco Properties Group

W Ventures

Red Core Geothermal

Green Tiger Software

Public-Private Partnership Center

C5 Mass Transit Corporation Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Sagittarius Mines on the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, prospectively the largest copper-gold project in the Philippines.
  • Advised the consortium leading the construction of the 5 Metro Rail Transit Line 10 Project on the unsolicited proposal for the construction and development of a light railway-based mass transportation system over an alignment traversing 6 key cities, with a length of approximately 22.5 kilometers, and a project cost of approximately $1.6bn.
  • Advising the consortium leading the construction of the Metro Rail Transit Line 11 Project on the unsolicited proposal for the construction and development of a light railway-based mass transportation system over an alignment traversing 4 key cities, with a length of approximately 18 kilometers, and a project cost of approximately $1.4bn.

Philippines > Real estate and construction Tier 2

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia provides clients with comprehensive legal services relating to real estate transactions, construction projects, and property development projects. The firm frequently advises property and land developers in the acquisition of high-value real estate, including the acquisition of an ecozone building in Central Luzon for a transaction value of PHP7bn. Rosa Michelle Bagtas and Aida Araceli G. Roxas-Rivera leads the ‘very competent’ team. Associate Francis Fragante also stands out for his ability to handle detailed legal work.  Fernand Joseph Miranda was promoted to the partnership in January 2021.


‘The team is very thorough in combing possible problems, conflicts, issues, and anticipating possible problems in the future. The team is also good in negotiating on our behalf with client lawyers. They have protected our interests by putting up all the necessary legal provisions without being too legalistic. Their background knowledge of business law, taxation, and the law of the land helped very much in giving us their advice so we could make objective decisions. I feel we are well protected legally in with the work of the team. ’

‘Rosa Bagtas who heads the team is very competent as well as Francis Fragante, Rosa’s protege who does most of the legal nitty gritty legal work. We find it very easy and comfortable to work with both of them. They are hardworking, prompt with deadlines, and well prepared. We are very satisfied with their performance.’

Key clients

W Group

Portuguese Land

Abraham Holdings

Italpinas Development Corporation


Baltimore Land

ILO Land

Citigold Resources and Development Corporation

LuxPacific Realty Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised a real property owner/developer on the sale of its four  prime real estate properties for a total consideration of at least PHP5bn.
  • Advised a real estate developer on its potential acquisition of an ecozone building in an up-and-coming business district in Central Luzon with transaction value of PHP7bn.
  • Advised a joint venture real estate company on its potential acquisition of an ecozone industrial property in Southern Luzon.

Philippines > Corporate and M&A Tier 3

The corporate team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia advises on a wide range of corporate transactions, including joint ventures, corporate divestments, buy-outs, dissolutions, liquidations, and spin-offs. The firm handles the full cycle of mergers and acquisitions, from due diligence to post-closing, and has extensive expertise in the workings of the public sector, advising clients on the legal, regulatory, and policy aspects of dealing with the government. Aida Araceli G. Roxas-Rivera heads the team and advises clients on investments in the Philippines. Manuel L. Manaligod, Jr.  specialises in public-private partnership transactions and developing comprehensive legislative proposals for government agencies. Rosa Michele C. Bagtas and Pancho G. Umali  are the other key contacts.


The team is cohesive and well-coordinated. The  advice is very practical and multi-disciplinary (financial/ economic, political, ethical, long & short term).’

John Jerico L. Balisnomo is well rounded in his advice and is full of wisdom. He can work well with other lawyers outside of the CMT when the situation calls for it.’

Simeon V. Marcelo is a very good legal strategist. He always thinks ‘out of the box‘. ’

Key clients

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Synchrogenix Philippines, Inc.

Asian Terminals, Inc.

ABS-CBN Corporation

Unicapital, Inc.

W Group of Companies

Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

Redco Properties Group Ltd.

Suyen Corporation

Seven Bank, Ltd.

Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc.

Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc.

BF Jade E-Services Philippines, Inc.

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.

Zywave Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Redco on its acquisition of 35% interest in Makati City Subway, Inc.
  • Assisted DOLE Philippines, Inc. / DOLE Asia Company, Limited (ROHQ) with the registration of various foreign currency-denominated loans from its parent company with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
  • Advised Zywave, Inc. on its acquisition of Advisen, Ltd. by conducting the legal due diligence on the latter’s Philippine subsidiary.

Philippines > Labour and employment Tier 3

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has a strong record in advising on collective bargaining agreements between companies and unions. In addition, its expertise extends to helping clients complying with the statutory and reportorial requirements of domestic law, the drafting/review of contracts and advocacy before quasi-judicial bodies and appellate courts in the Philippines. Seasoned litigator Elmar B. Galacio leads the team, which also includes corporate reorganisation specialist Rogelio Torres, Jr.


‘The lawyers are very competent and professional. They have provided our company with exceptional legal services over the past years.’

‘The lawyers are very competent. In addition, the lawyers are always available to address our needs. The lawyers also find ways to achieve our objectives.’

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 > Immigration

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.

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