Philippines

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) 

Competition authority: Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, Department of Trade and Industry

Financial regulator: Securities and Exchange Commission

IFLR1000 ranking categories: 

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets, M&A, Project finance, Project Development, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

The legal system of the Philippines is a combination of civil law and the Anglo-American common law system. But religion plays a vital part in the country and Catholicism and Islam have influenced the law to different degrees. 

Family-run law firms and enterprises are an important feature of the Filipino business landscape. Major players in the country are domestic firms such as Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW), Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan who provide full service local law services.

As foreign firms are not allowed to practice in the country, some have linked up with local firms to serve clients on cross-border deals. One example is Baker and McKenzie who are partnered with local firm Quismbing Torres (QT).

Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific

Financial and corporate
Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRALAW)

ACCRALAW has a strong financial and corporate practice, but the firm stands out in terms of capital markets and restructuring.

In banking work during the research period, the firm acted for both lenders and borrowers financing mandates.

In the capital markets area the firm had a busy year taking on roles for issuers, underwriters, and lead managers on an IPOs and listings, rights issues, follow-on public offerings, preference share issues, and bond issues.

On the M&A front the firm has expertise in structuring foreign equity investments in nationalised industries. Recently the firm was active in sectors including financial services, food and beverage, construction and materials, and real estate.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                     Ayala Education Php2.5 billion divestment of AGC Flat Glass Philippines

•                     Global Ferronickel Holdings Php500 million secondary share offering

•                     iPeople merger with Ayala Education

•                     LBC Express Holdings Php220 million secondary share offering

•                     Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company Php60 billion rights issue

•                     Navis Capital Partners acquisition of DZ Card Group

•                     Philippine National Bank $1 billion MTN programme

•                     Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Php15 billion rights issue

 

Client feedback

“The firm provides excellent service. Its team of partners and associates is meticulous and pro-active in giving advice and resolving issues that may hinder the closing of a transaction. Its senior partners have good relationships with regulators.” - Capital markets

“They are very professional, pleasant and knowledgeable, thorough and straight to the point and very honest in giving opinions.” - Financial services regulatory

“We dealt with different teams, and they were well-coordinated, very responsive and protective of the client's interests.” - M&A  

Judy Hao

“Very professional, pleasant and knowledgeable, thorough and straight to the point and very honest in giving opinions.”  

Everlene O Lee

“Very professional, pleasant and knowledgeable, thorough and straight to the point and very honest in giving opinions.”  

“I am very satisfied with Atty Lee's work. She closely monitors all aspects of a transaction, actively gives advice and solutions when needed, and is easily accessible outside of work hours.”

Elaine Patricia Reyes-Rodolfo

“Quite knowledgeable and responsive. Understood our issues and concerns and had solutions.”

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia is known for its M&A and project development work.

In M&A the firm provides advice on a range of matters including acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate divestments, buy-outs, dissolutions, and spin-offs. In the last year, the firm was active in sectors such as oil and gas, and real estate. A noteworthy highlight saw the firm assisting a real estate company on a joint venture with a government entity.

In projects the firm has a focus on sectors including infrastructure, mining and energy. In the past year, the firm notably advised a contractor on the Tampakan Copper-Gold project. The firm also advised consortiums of developers on the development and implementation of a light railway-based mass transportation systems.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Lot 3-A property bidding

•                      Marawi City rehabilitation

•                      MRT-10

•                      MRT-11

•                      PEZA Electronic Payment and Collection System

•                      PEZA integrated port facility

•                      Quezon City integrated solid waste management facility

•                      Tampakan copper-gold mine

Client feedback

“Strength is fast turnaround time and attention to detail. They also provide real-time feedback on status.” – Financial and corporate

"Very professional, timely, excellent legal arguments and great outcome.” - Project development

“CMT provided excellent legal advisory services. The lawyers who were involved in the projects conducted their due diligence to ensure that the processes and documents were in accordance with the law, without sacrificing the commercial structure and viability of the project. The firm's ability to balance the legal and commercial requirements of the projects is what sets it apart from other firms we have worked with.” - Project development

Disini & Disini Law Office

Disini & Disini Law Office is noted for its banking work.

The firm has a special focus on advising clients in the fintech space. The firm often acts for clients such as banks, remittance companies, virtual currency exchanges, electronic money issuers, and fintech providers. During the research period, the firm was active on several confidential mandates, often providing regulatory advice.

Client feedback

“Experts in the field.” – Financial services regulatory

“Overall, our Company is very satisfied with the legal services extended by Disini and Disini Law Office. They respond to any inquiry in a timely manner; they provide clear answers to any legal matter, which includes both the negative and positive impact of any legal action.” - Financial services regulatory  

"They are very commercial and practical in their positions, and we appreciate how they also look to protect our interests.”– Project development

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio

C&G Law is recognised for its quality work in the projects space.

The firm’s recent banking work includes acting mainly for lenders on acquisition finance transactions. In this area, the firm represented the likes of United Overseas Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

In M&A the firm acted primarily for acquirers and was also active on matters related to mergers, joint ventures and regulatory compliance. A highlight saw the firm advising on the merger of two publicly listed companies operating in the real estate space.

On the project development side the firm was recently active in sectors including oil and gas, transport, and energy. A highlight saw the firm advising the operators on the second major airport project to be awarded by the Philippine government in recent years.

The firm boosted its corporate and projects teams with the hire of Annalisa J Carlota as a partner from Asian Development Bank.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      AEV International $338 million financing

•                      Cebu Holdings / Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corporation merger

•                      Clark International Airport

•                      NLEX exit ramp

Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra

Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra’s clear strength lies in its capital markets work. The firm has a special focus on the technology, media and telecommunication sectors.

In capital markets, the firm notably advised the issuer on the largest and only IPO in the Philippines for 2018. On the debt side the firm acted for the issuer on a high value issue of senior notes.

In M&A the firm acted for both buyers and sellers active in the healthcare and technology.

In the projects space the firm was predominantly active in the transport and social infrastructures and took on clients such as bidders.

In the research period the firm brought in Anthony Edsel F Tupaz as a partner from the Department of Public Works and Highways.

In January 2019, the firm expanded its regional presence by entering into a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Yusarn Audrey, a law partnership firm based in Singapore.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Audiowav Media Incorporated PSE IPO

•                      Ayala Health Care Holdings Php20 million acquisition of APPPS Partners

•                      DM Wenceslao & Associates PSE IPO

•                      Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 7

•                      Universal Entertainment Corporation $600 million 8.5% bond issue          

•                      Xurpas Php1.5 billion acquisition of Art of Click

Gulapa Law

Active since 2015, Gulapa Law has a diversified practice and is especially notable for its projects and M&A work.

In banking work the firm often assists multilateral financial institutions in advising the government and SOEs on PPP project financing. A representative deal saw the firm acting for the IFC on the financing of the Clark International Airport Development PPP Project.

In M&A the firm’s experience includes advising private sector clients on joint ventures with the government, representing clients on share and related acquisitions in the services sector; and assisting clients in their business restructuring or expansion in technology sector. A noteworthy recent mandate saw the firm advising Manila Water on entering in to a joint venture for the development of the water and wastewater infrastructure for New Clark City.

In the projects space the firm has a focus on acting for private bidders in PPP projects in the infrastructure and transport sectors. A noteworthy mandate saw the firm acting for the Asian Development Bank in advising the government on a first of its kind LNG hub project.

In restructuring work the firm specialises in acting as the rehabilitation receiver of companies in the agricultural and retail sectors; assisting in the restructuring of foreign-owned enterprises by creating separate investment vehicles; and advising foreign-owned enterprises in capital restructuring through capital infusion. A recent highlight saw the firm acting as the rehabilitation receiver of an automotive dealer.

In 2018 the firm opened a representative office in San Francisco – the firm’s second office in the US.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Autocirculo Corporation financial restructuring

•                      Clark International Airport Development PPP

•                      Fort Bonifacio-Makati Skytrain

•                      National Government Administrative Center

•                      New Bohol International Airport (Panglao)

•                      New Clark City Water and Wastewater

•                      Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex

•                      Pasig River Ferry System

Client feedback

“The firm was efficient, capable and knowledgeable, and provided service above and beyond what we as clients expected. They took their advice and deliverables a step further by considering our commercial strategies, provided invaluable market insight, and became greatly invested in the success of the project.” - Project development

"The Gulapa Law provided expert advice on PPP transactions and provided excellent drafts of the tender documents." – Project development

“Superlative legal assistance.” - Project development

“Gulapa Law has expert knowledge of PPP Transactions in the Philippines.” - Project development

“Gulapa Law provides excellent legal advise in a very prompt manner. We are delighted with their service.” - Project development

Aris Gulapa

“Aris is an extremely capable lawyer. He is able to effectively communicate with his clients, and translate their requirements into manageable, commercially-driven advice. He truly adds value to any commercial team.”

“In depth analysis and understanding of the case, provides excellent legal advise and is a great leader of the firm.”

Dake Mandocdoc, Phillip Recentes

“Dake and Phil are experts in PPP transactions and have provided excellent legal advice in the tender process.”

“They provided excellent legal advice as to the PPP process for our project.”

Angel Machuca

“He is doing an excellent job.”

Aileen Sanguir

“Extends excellent legal assistance.”

“Provides excellent support to the joint venture and is very responsive.”

Insights Philippines Legal Advisors

Insights Philippines Legal Advisors is active in the financial and corporate space and is strongest in banking.

During the research period the firm’s banking team was primarily busy with advising international banking and financial services clients on regulatory compliance related matters. A highlight saw the firm advising one of the largest Islamic banks in the world on establishing a branch in the Philippines.

In corporate and M&A, the firm was recently active in sectors including energy, logistics, technology, aviation and social infrastructure. The firm notably advised the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer on investments in solar energy project companies.

In the projects space, the firm advised an American solar energy project companies on issues related to solar energy storage.

A restructuring highlight saw the firm advising a German company producing sustainable biomass feedstock on restructuring its Philippine entity. Another interesting mandate saw the firm advising a UK headquartered financial services company on restructuring its Philippine entity.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      RedCargo Logistics restructuring

Client feedback

"Very quick with providing information and thorough in presenting the information requested.”  – Project development

“They are timely, fast, accurate and very elaborate in their advice and answers.” - Project development

MOSVELDTT Law

MOSVELDTT Law is active across the financial and corporate space.

In the research period the firm mainly acted on the side of the acquirers in the utilities and manufacturing sectors. A highlight saw the firm act for a multinational electronics company in the acquisition of an electronics company.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Manila Water Company Php1.8 billion acquisition of Clark Water Corporation

MVGS - Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

MVGS boasts a high-quality capital markets practice and is strong in M&A.

In banking work the firm often acted for domestic and international banks as lenders on financing mandates recently. Clients include the likes of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, BDO Unibank and Bank of China.

A recent capital markets highlight saw the firm advising Philippines’ largest bank on the largest-ever single Peso bond issue by a Philippine bank to date.

In M&A, the firm has a focus on the banking and financial services and manufacturing sectors. An interesting mandate saw the firm advising Citibank in the sale of its real estate portfolio.

In projects, the firm has significant experience in advising on PPP infrastructure projects. In the research period, the firm advised on operational and regulatory compliance matters related to industrial and IT parks.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Alsons Consolidated Resources PHP2.5 billion commercial paper issue

•                      BDO Unibank PHP35 billion 6.42% bond issue

•                      Citicore Power $54 million Armstrong Asset Managers Singapore’s solar power plants

•                      Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation $54 million financing

•                      DoubleDragon Properties Corp PHP4.5Billion follow-on offering

•                      Negros Navigation PHP18.2 billion merger with 2Go Group

•                      One Network Bank acquisition of Rural Bank of Pandi

•                      Osmanthus Investment Holdings PHP1.65 billion acquisition of a 15% stake in One Network Bank

Client feedback

"MVGS remains as our preferred counsel for our own capital market issues and our M&A transactions. They tailor fit their services to our needs. Their unparalleled experience, particularly in M&A in the financial sector, is their greatest strength. " – Capital markets, M&A

Rosalia S Bartolome-Alejo, Mia Ormita

They are the best in the industry, are very innovative, and receptive to the needs of their client.”      

Erika B Paulino

“Good quality work for a reasonable price.” 

Elmer Serrano

“Best in the industry, very innovative, and receptive to the needs of their client.”           

“Very competent.”

Poblador Bautista & Reyes

While Poblador Bautista & Reyes’s clear strength lies in capital markets, the firm also has strong banking, M&A, project finance and restructuring practices.

The firm is experienced in advising foreign and domestic clients on matters involving establishing subsidiaries and branches, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and franchising.

During the research period, the firm was active in sectors including real estate, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. A highlight saw the firm advising a real estate company in forming a joint venture for the purpose of property development.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Carmelray / Rockwell Land joint venture

 

PunoLaw

PunoLaw is strongest in banking, M&A and projects work.

In banking work recently the firm acted on a notable financing deal in the oil and gas sector.

In the capital markets the firm acted on the first corporate Peso-denominated Bond deal to price in 2019.

In M&A, recent highlights saw the firm advising on the formation of a consortium in the telecommunication sector and acting for the seller in a real estate divestment.

On the projects side the firm advised on the development of water infrastructure for the landmark New Clark City project.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                     Century Properties Group PhP2 billion 7.82% bond issue

•                     China Telecommunications Corporation Php10 billion acquisition of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company

•                     GT Capital Holdings PhP20 billion divestment of 51% stake in Property Company of Friends

•                     New Clark City

•                     Philippine Tank Storage International Holdings $150 million financing

 

Puyat Jacinto & Santos

While Puyat Jacinto & Santos’ clear strength is project development, the firm also performs well in capital markets, M&A and project finance.

During the research period the firm was particularly active in providing financial services regulatory advice to foreign financial services companies seeking to enter the market.

In M&A the firm took on both buy and sell-side roles on acquisitions and acted on the sale of a stake in Masinloc Power Partners in one of the largest deals in the energy industry.

In projects the firm was recently active in power, oil and gas, transport and sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                     Batangas LNG terminal

•                     Dole Philippines biogas power plant

•                     North Renewables Energy Corporation acquisition of Vivant-Sta Clara North Renewable Generation Corporation

•                     San Buenaventura power plant

•                     SMC Global Power Holdings $1.9 billion acquisition of Masinloc Power Partners

•                     Tala Financing Philippines financial services regulatory

•                     Tiger Resort Asia acquisition of a 66% in Asiabest Group

•                     Udenna Corporation acquisition of a 70% stake in Conti’s Holdings Corporation

Quisumbing Torres

Quisumbing Torres, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, is among the leading firms in the Philippines, especially in project development.

The banking team acts on a broad range of transactions including acquisition finance, syndicated lending, structured finance and leveraged finance, loan facilities and security packages. The firm also has a focus on providing regulatory advice to clients operating in the fintech space.

In capital markets work a recent highlight saw the firm acting on the delisting from the PSE of the largest producer of geothermal energy in the Philippines.

In M&A the firm recently acted on joint ventures, mergers, and on buyer and seller side roles on acquisitions in a number of confidential mandates.

The projects team has a long history of working with key regulators and was particularly active in renewable energy, mining and transport recently.

The corporate and banking teams saw the departure of partner Lourdes de Leon who retired from practice, while partner Elizabeth Opeña also left the corporate team.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                     Energy Development Corporation PSE delisting

 

Client feedback

“QT is very good, responsive and provides commercial solutions.”- Financial services regulatory

“Very good.” - Private equity

TJ Mendoza

“Excellent.”

Dennis Quintero

“A good lawyer providing helpful commercial solutions.”

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de los Angeles

Ranked in the top tier across the financial and corporate tables, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de los Angeles is one of the clear market leaders in the Philippines.

The firm has experience in acting on matters such as domestic and international IPOs of Philippine-registered companies, international securities offerings, restructurings, takeovers, regulatory compliance issues, and cross-border acquisitions.

In the research period the firm was particularly active in the capital markets, and acted for underwriters and managers on rights issues and perpetual notes issues.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                     Bank of the Philippine Islands $1 billion rights issue

•                     Integrated Microelectronics $100 million rights issue

•                     Megaworld Corporation $200 Million 6% bond issue

 

Client feedback

“Extremely strong at the partner level. Junior lawyers are of better quality than other law firms.” - Private equity

Agustin Montilla

“Agustin understands the commercial aspects of a transaction and is able to provide a very balanced approach.”  

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

One of the largest and most well-known firms in the Philippines, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan is a market leader across the board in financial and corporate work.

Besides advising on traditional banking matters, the firm has a focus on aviation financing, fintech and Islamic finance and is the only Philippine member of the Islamic Finance Network. Recent highlights include acting on one of the largest corporate syndications arranged in the Philippine market in 2018 and acting for the lenders in a high-value acquisition financing in the power sector.

In the capital markets area recent highlights saw the firm advising on the largest capital markets transaction in the history of the Bank of the Philippine Islands; an unprecedented green bond issue in the jurisdiction; and the largest maiden international bond issue by a Philippine bank.

The M&A team has extensive experience in merger notification and regulatory compliance related work. In the past year the firm notably acted on Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s assets in Southeast Asia and one of the first foreign investments in rural banks.

In projects area an interesting mandate saw the firm advising on a hybrid PPP project in the transport sector.

In restructuring and insolvency work the firm advised local and foreign creditors in the rehabilitation of one of the largest distributors of agricultural products in the Philippines.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                     Bank of the Philippine Islands US$600 million 4.25% bonds issue

•                     Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Php73.5 billion loan facility

•                     DM Wenceslao & Associates PSE IPO

•                     IFC $90 million green bond issue

•                     New Clark City

•                     Manila International Airport

•                     Robinsons Retail Holdings PHP27 billion acquisition of Rustan Supercenters

•                     SMC Global Holdings Corporation’s $700 Million loan facility

 

Client feedback

“Excellent communication skills, great at reducing complex problems into digestible issues, provides workarounds and solutions.” – Banking

“A very well-coordinated team, responsive and decisive.” - Banking

“The law firm is able to promptly address our queries and requirements, and more importantly, they have a good understanding of our position in the transaction.” – Banking

“The firm is efficient and thorough. We appreciate the prompt responses and accessibility of the lawyers.” - Capital markets

“Very responsive team. Well versed in current changes in regulations. Helps in commercial discussions as well.” - Capital markets

“The firm is very methodical and experienced in its work.” – M&A

“Very good law firm and provides reliable advice.” – M&A

“The firm is very methodical in its work.” - Project development

 

Jan Celine Abaño-Ranada

“Atty Abaño-Ranada is an efficient and hands-on partner. She is easily accessible by phone or email and provides prompt responses.”

MJ Bertillo

“Has good working relationships with both banks and issuers. Responsive and has good problem-solving skills.”

Arlene Maneja

“Highly analytical, quick on her feet, a pleasant disposition,  and very responsive.”

Imelda Manguiat

“Ms Manguiat is a strong advocate for her client's interests. She is also very keen on spotting legal risks. Lastly, she also manages the client relationships very well.”

“Very knowledgeable and reliable.”

Maria Christina Ortua

“Atty Ortua is very meticulous in her work and provides valuable legal feedback. She has a keen eye for identifying and addressing legal risks.”  

Marievic Ramos-Añonuevo

“Atty Anonuevo has an excellent grasp of our position on the relevant negotiation points and she is able to anticipate our needs in the transactions.”

“Very good with negotiations.”

Villaraza & Angangco

Villaraza & Angangco has a well-diversified practice across the financial and corporate space and is strong in M&A and restructuring. The firm’s membership of the ASEAN Plus Group provides it with an edge in handling cross-border transactions in the region.

In banking, the firm was active on an array of matters including financial services regulatory compliance work.

An interesting capital markets mandate saw the firm assist a large Chinese logistics company on its IPO.

The firm’s corporate and M&A experience spans an array of sectors including renewable energy, healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, infrastructure and technology. Recently, the firm assisted a French retail chain with the expansion of its operations in the Philippines.

In projects, the firm was recently mandated by The Cathay Drug Company to advise on the construction of a pharmaceutical laboratory.

In restructuring, a highlight saw the firm act on a high-value confidential mandate in the shipping sector.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Bank of Singapore regulatory compliance

•                      Bricolage Holding regulatory compliance

•                      Channel Systems Asia HKSE listing

•                      Gloriosa Finance Corporation regulatory compliance

•                      ISOC Infrastructure joint venture with edotco Group

•                      Rosewood Hermana Mayor development project

•                      Sinotrans SSE IPO

•                      Stripe regulatory compliance

Client feedback

"Top notch work all the time. Their opinion and services are always well researched and well prepared.” – M&A

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula, a member of the WPG Law Network, is noted for its restructuring and insolvency work.

In recent banking work the firm was recently active for banks on regulatory compliance matters and on extending facilities for an array of purposes including acquisition financing and debt refinancing. The firm counts the Philippine Bank of Communications as a repeat client.

In M&A the firm was recently active for both buyers and sellers in sectors including real estate, oil and gas, and insurance.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      The Philippine Bank of Communications $94 million bond issue