Philippines 2023 – GC Powerlist

Philippines 2023

  • Industries

  • Powerlist

A. Rafael Cuayo Juico

Senior legal counsel | Procter & Gamble (P&G) Philippines

Consumer products

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Agatha Kristy Ramos

Head of legal | Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Financials

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Allan Verman Ong

Vice president and associate general counsel | FactSet

Information technology

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Amabelle C. Asuncion

Chief legal officer and chief compliance officer | Manila Water Company

Energy and utilities

Angeline Chong

General counsel - Philippines | Jollibee Foods Corporation

Food, beverages and tobacco

Anna Michelle Llovido

Corporate secretary, corporate counsel, and data protection officer | Emperador

Food

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Ariel Salvador H. Magno

Head of legal | Dito Telecommunity Corporation

Telecommunication services

Arlene Lapuz-Ureta

Professor | University of the Philippines College of Law

Public sector

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Arthur Sy

Senior vice president legal | SM Investments

Commercial and professional services

Barbara Mae Saile

Country legal counsel | Grab

Information technology

Bernard Malibiran

Vice president - legal, ethics and compliance, corporate secretary and data protection officer | Republic Cement

Industrials and real estate

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Camille Aromas

General counsel | Huawei Technologies

Information technology

Carmeline Q. Viniegra

Global corporate legal affairs senior manager | International Container Terminal Services

Transport and infrastructure

Carmen-Rose Basallo

General counsel | Max's Group

Hotel

Catherine Drilon-Gancayco

Vice president, corporate legal - general counsel group | JG Summit Holdings

Commercial and professional services

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Catherine Gail Dizon-Espiritu

Legal director | RedDoorz

Hotel

Cecilia Tuazon

General counsel | LSERV Corporation

Commercial and professional services

Cecily Nerisse (Chel) C. Ramirez-dela Cruz

Country general counsel and GAM lead | 3M Philippines

Industrials and real estate

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Charmaine Rohtla

Senior associate counsel | FactSet

Information technology

Cherie Amor Galan

Associate general counsel | Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines

Food

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Cherry Len V. Mendoza

Chief administrative officer | Terra Renewables

Energy and utilities

Christian Gerard Castillo

Senior vice president – legal | ACEN Corporation

Energy and utilities

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Cristina Refran

General counsel | Comworks

Telecommunication services

Cristina Reyes

General counsel, Philippines and beauty and well-being, Southeast Asia | Unilever Philippines

Consumer products

Dan David Antonio

Head of legal | AXA Philippines

Insurance

Dionne Pulma-Prestoza

Legal and compliance manager, Philippines | GHD Pty

Industrials and real estate

Dodjie D. Lagazo

General counsel | ACEN Corporation

Energy and utilities

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Edgar Tordesillas

General counsel | Sun Life of Canada (Philippines)

Insurance

Emma Theresa M. Cabochan

Senior vice president - legal services head and data privacy officer | Asia United Bank Corporation

Financials

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Epitacio B. Borcelis

Senior vice president legal | SM Investments

Commercial and professional services

Ernesto C. Herrera III

General counsel | City Savings Bank

Financials

Fema Christina Sayson

Of counsel | E&L Faster Food Imports

Food

Francia Bulatao

Legal head | DHL

Transport and infrastructure

Francis Joseph Cruz

General counsel | Ginebra San Miguel

Food

George Gilbert dela Cuesta

First senior vice president- general counsel and corporate secretary | Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation 

Financials

Gilbert Escoto

Head, litigation management services | GXCHANGE

Commercial and professional services

Glenn Delos Santos

Corporate legal counsel | Daiichi Properties

Industrials and real estate

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Helene Go

Senior assistant vice president, head of legal | SM Prime Holdings

Industrials and real estate

Idesa L. Roxas – De Jesus

Senior associate general counsel – contracts and commercial transactions | Aboitiz Equity Ventures

Commercial and professional services

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Jan David Garcia

Assistant vice president, legal | Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation

Transport and infrastructure

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Janella Marie Amoranto

Head of the office of the general counsel - legal services division | Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank)

Financials

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Jason Kyle Sarenas

Senior legal counsel | Concepcion Industrial Corporation

Industrials and real estate

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Jeffrey Punzalan

Head of legal and regulatory affairs | BRANKAS

Information technology

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Jeifan-Ira Dizon

Head of legal | EdgePoint Towers

Telecommunication services

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Jhoanna Jasmine M. Javier-Elacio

Legal manager | Petron

Energy and utilities

Jo-Anne Legaspi

First vice president, head of legal services | Philippine Bank of Communications

Financials

Joanne Lim

Head, legal services | Ayala Corporation

Industrials and real estate

John Paolo Roberto Villasor

Corporate counsel | Excelsur Global Development Corporation

Commercial and professional services

Jose Palaganas

Associate director - regulatory and general affairs | Collins Aerospace

Transport and infrastructure

Josephine Faustino-Pagdanganan

Data protection officer and first vice president, senior counsel for commercial affairs and project audit | Stradcom Corporation

Information technology

Julian Chenoweth

Assistant general counsel | Asian Development Bank

Financials

June Vee Monteclaro-Navarro

Former chief legal officer | Ayala Land

Industrials and real estate

Karen Abella

Head of legal | UNObank

Financials

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Kevin Edrick P. Relopez

Head, legal department | AyalaLand Estates Group

Industrials and real estate

Khristian Alvaera

Associate general counsel | Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines

Food

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Kristian Nico Calugay Acosta

Legal manager for intellectual property and brand protection | Golden ABC

Consumer products

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Lauren Nina Go

Senior legal counsel - corporate law and special projects | Ayala Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Lawrence Lee Luang

General counsel and regulatory affairs director | Samsung Electronics Philippines

Consumer products

Lirene C. Mora

Director - global corporate legal affairs | International Container Terminal Services

Transport and infrastructure

Lope Manuel

General counsel and vice president for legal and corporate affairs | Frontiir

Information technology

Ma. Cecilia “Chey” Santos

First vice president and alternate corporate information officer | BDO Unibank

Financials

Ma. Celia H. Fernandez-Estavillo

Chief legal officer | JG Summit Holdings

Industrials and real estate

Ma. Florence Therese “Chingkay” Martirez-Cruz

Senior counsel and assistant corporate secretary, AREIT and Ayala Land | AREIT and Ayala Land

Industrials and real estate

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Ma. Georgina A. Alvarez

Chief legal consultant | Megaworld Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Mae Simonette Corona

General counsel | Mondelez Philippines

Consumer products

Manuel Alberto R. Colayco

Corporate secretary, chief compliance officer, senior vice president, chief legal officer | Aboitiz Group

Commercial and professional services

Manuel C. Bahena Jr.

First senior vice president and chief legal counsel, head of legal group | Philippine National Bank

Financials

Marcial Bernales, Jr.

Senior legal manager for internal compliance and dispute management | Metro Pacific Tollways South Management Corporation

Transport and infrastructure

Maria Cecilia Avila

Senior vice president | BDO Unibank

Financials

Maria Concepcion Simundac-Delos Santos

Lead legal counsel | ING Bank Philippines

Financials

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Maria Corazon PMR Alvarez-Adriano

Chief legal officer | GCash

Information technology

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Maria Lourdes P. Gatmaytan

Senior vice president, head of corporate legal affairs and corporate secretary | Bank of the Philippine Islands 

Financials

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Marian Coquia-Regidor

Director, legal shared services | Zendesk

Information technology

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Marian Vanslembrouck

Associate general counsel | Enjin

Financials

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Marianne C. Sibulo-Arce

Senior legal counsel | Avida Land Corporation

Industrials and real estate

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Marianne Malate-Guerrero

Senior vice president legal for corporate strategy | AG&P

Energy and utilities

Marigel Garcia

Assistant vice president and head, issuer regulation division | Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)

Financials

Marilyn A. Victorio-Aquino

Senior vice president, chief legal counsel and corporate secretary | PLDT

Telecommunication services

Marisalve Ciocson-Co

Chief compliance officer, senior vice president of legal and compliance | Globe Telecom

Telecommunication services

Mary Ellen Cabuhat

General counsel | John Hay Management Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Mary Love Pacheco

Corporate legal counsel, DPO | Demand Science Team Philippines

Information technology

Michael David Azucena

General counsel and head of legal | Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Michico Rizza G. Oi-Daquil

Director for legal services | Travellers International Hotel Group (Newport World Resorts)

Hotel

Millette Asuncion-Arnedo

Senior vice president and general counsel | Filinvest Development Corporation

Commercial and professional services

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Millicent Joie Desiderio-Dime

Director of legal services, ethics, regulatory and compliance operations | Accenture

Commercial and professional services

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Norguel Yazer Eleazar

Head of legal, Philippines | Xendit

Financials

Omar Taccad

Chief legal counsel | Concepcion Industrial Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Pagan Arches-Reyes

Vice president - contracts and special projects | Aboitiz Equity Ventures

Commercial and professional services

Paolo Angelo C. Go

Vice president, head of legal services and data privacy officer | Cignal TV

Sports and media

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Patricia Madarang-Daway

Head of legal | Ayalaland Malls

Industrials and real estate

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Paul Rodulfo B. Imperial

Vice president, structuring and regulatory affairs, head of legal | Aboitiz InfraCapital

Transport and infrastructure

Portia Valencia-Bondoc

Associate general counsel, supply chain | Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines

Food

Prescila Bartolome-Culala

Internal legal adviser, data protection officer and assistant vice president | ANZ Global Services and Operations

Financials

Princess Claudin C. Omelio-Balino

Chief legal and corporate affairs officer | Hijo Group of Companies

Industrials and real estate

Raymond Joseph Ibon

Director and legal unit head | MUFG Bank

Financials

Rea Roxas

Legal counsel | Conduent

Commercial and professional services

Reyna Faith Depasucat

Legal services manager | Ayala Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Rianne M. Picar-Danao

Head of legal and ethics officer | ENGIE Services (Philippines)

Energy and utilities

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Ricardo Felix C. Cabral III

Vice president, legal and general counsel | Liwayway Marketing Corporation (Oishi Group)

Commercial and professional services

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Robert Josef A. De Guzman

Head of legal and GRC — governance, risk and compliance | Coins.ph

Financials

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Roberto Figueroa

Senior vice president and general counsel | HSBC

Financials

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Rona Gail Uy-Arbas

Legal head | MPT Mobility

Commercial and professional services

Ronald Estrada

Senior legal director | Robinsons Land

Industrials and real estate

Rosa Christina R. Hermoso

Head of legal | ib vogt Philippines

Energy and utilities

Rosa Margarita A. De Guzman

General counsel | McDonald’s Philippines (Golden Arches Development Corporation)_x000D_

Hotel

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Ruby Charmaine Gan-Poquiz

Vice president, legal unit | MUFG Bank

Financials

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Ryan Co

General counsel and regulatory affairs director | Kumu

Information technology

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Ryan N. Espiritu

General legal counsel and global GSC privacy counsel | 3M Global Service Center - Philippines

Commercial and professional services

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Ryan V. Laureano

General counsel, chief administrative officer | Inspiro Relia Global Shared Services

Commercial and professional services

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Shaina Anella B. Ramirez

Associate general counsel | San Miguel Holdings Corp

Commercial and professional services

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Sharry Salazar Jabola

Vice president, legal | Aboitiz Power Corporation

Energy and utilities

Sheryl Molera

Associate general counsel (director) | Jollibee Foods Corporation

Food, beverages and tobacco

Solomon M. Hermosura

Chief legal officer, Ayala Corporation and group general counsel, Ayala Land | Ayala Corporation

Industrials and real estate

Stefanie Noelle A. Lozada

Associate vice president, legal; head of vontracts and documentation | Globe Fintech Innovations (Mynt)

Financials

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Terence Fernando

General counsel | Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines

Food

Timothy John G. Rocamora

Vice president, legal | Pasudeco Development Corporation

Industrials and real estate

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Valerie Feria Amante

Global general counsel | Jollibee Foods Corporation

Food

Vera Marie Bautista-King

Associate general counsel | Jollibee Foods Corporation

Food

Virgilio S. Jacinto

Corporate secretary and general counsel | San Miguel

Food

Walter L. Mactal

Senior vice president and chief legal and admin officer | Travellers International Hotel Group

Hotel

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William S. Pamintuan

Senior vice president, chief legal counsel, assistant corporate secretary, compliance officer | Meralco

Energy and utilities

In association with our partners Villaraza & Angangco, The Legal 500 is proud to present our first-ever GC Powerlist: Philippines to you, our compilation of the top in-house lawyers in one of the globe’s most exciting and rapidly growing nations.

 

Having published a Southeast Asia GC Powerlist for many years, our research team’s goal for 2023 is to increase the focus of our coverage of in-house lawyers across Southeast Asia and to create specific editions for the in-house legal communities in the major economies here. We are delighted to be able to properly highlight the full range of top corporate counsel that there are in the Philippines, and hope that this publication, which is the culmination of many months (and, indirectly, years) of research by our team, shows how committed The Legal 500 is to the Philippines.

 

 

As always, the interviews we conducted gave a remarkable insight into the work of the modern high-level corporate counsel. We always make sure to ask a series of questions to the GCs we speak to, and receive a huge range of answers in response, from the effects of technological change, to the quality of legal representation in the country at hand, to the future of the GC position. Cecily Nerisse (Chel) C. Ramirez-dela Cruz of 3M Philippines’ explanation of why in-house lawyers are well-placed to deliver change in their organisations stood out for its clarity:

 

 

‘In-house lawyers, by their function and the nature of the position, have general knowledge of a company’s operations, and can flag what works, what doesn’t, what needs improvement. We listen to our clients as they consult, and we can identify the root cause of the problems, as well as any unintended but inevitable consequences thereof, and recommend courses of action to address these problems and avoid them, or mitigate the risks that accompany them. Because of this unique knowledge, in-house lawyers are well-suited to be catalysts for meaningful change in their respective organisations.

Rosa Margarita A. De Guzman of McDonald’s Philippines talked eloquently about the need to put in the hours when developing relationships with others in the business:

‘Credibility takes time to build and can only be successfully accomplished with a track record of dependability. We must be the legal experts that we advertise ourselves to be. We must consistently show up for the commitments that we make. And, we have to unfailingly deliver on promises or otherwise extend ourselves to our limits to attempt it. There is no workaround on building credibility. It entails hard work, reliability, and time. Showing our moralities as a person is another matter entirely but is something that I believe is equally important to build authentic relationships with our business partners. It requires a certain vulnerability to expose what matters to us most.

 

Taking a different approach, Bernard Malibiran of Republic Cement spoke about his wishlist for the Filipino law firms of the future.

I would like to see less traditional, and more innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in external law firms. Innovative law firms are not only tech savvy, but also offer fresh approaches and perspectives to legal complexities—perhaps brought about by a more diverse set of lawyers with backgrounds coming from information technology, engineering, or finance rather than the traditional political science or legal management backgrounds.

Thank you to all the in-house lawyers who spoke to us as part of our research into this first ever Philippines edition of the GC Powerlist, and congratulations to all of those who made the final cut. Thank you also to V&A for making this event possible—we could not ask for better event partners. We plan to make the Philippines GC Powerlist a yearly ceremony highlighting the best corporate counsel in the country, and hope to have many more editions over the coming years.

 

Joe Boswell 
Global Editor: The Legal 500’s Powerlist Series 
The Legal 500 

 

 

GC Powerlist Philippines 2023

With a scorching hot early July day in Manila as the setting, The Legal 500 journeyed to the fabulous Rainmaker Lounge at the penthouse of Villaraza & Angangco’s V&A Law Centre to host and congratulate the leading lights of the in-house legal community of the Philippines as part of the first-ever Philippines GC Powerlist. The room was packed to capacity with GCs, chief legal officers and legal heads, the culmination of a research and invitation process that took our research team many months to complete.  

The lounge had an electric atmosphere as old friends and classmates caught up with each other and new connections were made, and after some bubbles and hors d’oeuvres the guests settled in for the ceremony. Opening remarks and well-wishes from The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist editor Joe Boswell were followed by a rousing congratulatory speech from V&A’s managing partner Sylvette Tankiang who spoke of the great achievements those in the room had made to be a part of the ceremony. GC keynote speaker Maricor Adriano of GCash took the podium next, speaking about the unique role in-house lawyers play for their organisations and relating some of the key episodes in her career that had made her into the lawyer and businessperson she is today.  

The award ceremony followed, as each successful in-house lawyer took to the stage to receive their certificate alongside Legal 500 representative Ben Lovell. After closing congratulations from V&A co-managing partner Franchette Acosta, it was time for the party, which went late into the night. Congratulations to all the fine GCs who made it onto the Powerlist, and thank you to Villaraza & Angangco for making this event possible.