Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako

Practice Areas

Traditional Values, Modern Thinking

Our practice remains steeped in traditional values that have guided a century of law practice. While we have earned our reputation for professionalism and excellence, we also take pride in being “cutting edge.” We apply the latest legal and “out-of-the-box” thinking to a client’s problem, approaching it creatively, in a multi-disciplinary manner. This is due in large part to the fact that we hire and train lawyers not only on the basis of their excellent academic credentials from the finest schools (several of our lawyers have postgraduate degrees from foreign universities) but also on their ability to formulate innovative, unconventional solutions to legal problems. It is no surprise that many of our law firm’s alumni have gone on to contribute to the development of Philippine law, jurisprudence and politics, as legislators, cabinet secretaries, founders of new law firms, and Justices of the Supreme Court.

Contact: Attys. Alma D. Fernandez-Mallonga, German Q. Lichauco II  Carla E. Santamaria-Seña or Michael Felipe A. Mercado

The firm manages an active caseload involving civil, criminal, and administrative litigation, involving a wide array of disputes from personal and complex commercial litigation. The firm represents local and international clients in trial and appellate proceedings.  Our roster of clients includes, among others, multinational corporations, local and international banks, manufacturing companies, business processing offices (BPO), and property development companies. With 100 years of litigation practice, the law firm has not only served its clients but also contributed greatly to Philippine jurisprudence.

Our lawyers are trained to craft legal strategies to achieve our client’s objectives and protect their interest, to study the art of trial, and to develop their writing skills and a “to-the-point” writing style for appellate practice.

Our lawyers appear before all courts:

  • Metropolitan and Municipal Trial Courts
  • Regional Trial Courts
  • Sandiganbayan [a special Philippine court with jurisdiction over matters involving public officers]
  • Court of Tax Appeals
  • Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court

Our firm also represent clients in almost all the quasi-judicial bodies including:

  • National Labor Relations Commission
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Human Settlements Adjudication Commission [formerly Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
  • Home Insurance Guaranty Corporation;
  • Office of the Ombudsman
  • City and Provincial Prosecutors
  • Office of Legal Affairs of the Department of Trade and Industry;
  • Civil Service Commission

Our law firm also represents clients in international and domestic arbitrations.  The firm served as Philippine counsel for an international German airport operator, which pursued investment arbitration through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) process of the World Bank. With lawyers trained in alternative dispute resolution, our law firm also represents clients in domestic commercial and construction arbitrations. The firm handles cases before the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI) and the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC).

Contact: Atty. Jose P. Crisostomo, Jr.

 

The firm caters to the specific requirements of clients who work for insurance companies and banks through its specialized practice.

 

Our lawyers handle civil, criminal, and administrative litigation for banking institutions arising from the execution, negotiation, or enforcement of bank instruments (e.g. checks, promissory notes, trust receipts), drafts appropriate documentation, and advises on syndicated loans and loan restructuring.

The firm  has significant experience in the banking and insurance industry. Our lawyers provided industry-wide policy advice to the Banker’s Association of the Philippines (BAP). Our lawyers have also advised our insurance company clients on the regulatory requirements applicable to insurance, assurance, and surety businesses in the Philippines.

 

Contact: Attys. Nicanor N. Padilla and Rafael E. Khan (Computer and Internet Law) and Atty. Michael Felipe A. Mercado (Data Privacy Law).

 

The firm has extensive knowledge and experience in this area of law. One of our earliest works involved counseling clients on liabilities arising from Y2K Readiness and Disclosure Law in 1999. Since then, we have advised clients on technology-related laws and rules and regulations, including the recent Philippine Data Privacy Act.

 

Our lawyers draft technology-related contracts. We have crafted specific and unique agreements for products and services involving technology. We are acquainted with the regulatory and commercial perspectives required for various types of documentation, including developer licensing agreements, software licensing, end-user agreements, website access contracts, technology transfer regulations, and more.

 

SRMO is conversant with the special needs of dot-com start-ups, technology consultants, and venture capitalists. We offer advice on the corporate and tax law implications of the various modes of structuring a computer-related venture and the tax and investment incentives available to the technology investor.

 

With the passage of the Philippine Data Privacy Act and the issuance of its implementing rules and regulations and the establishment of the National Privacy Commission, the Firm offers advice to its clients to ensure compliance with data privacy laws and regulations.

Contact: Attys. Edgardo G. Balois and German Q. Lichauco II 

The firm is recognized in various international legal directories as one of the top commercial and mergers-and-acquisitions firms in the Philippines (e.g. by Chamber and Partners 2000-2001 Review of the World’s Top Law Firms; Asia Pacific Law 500).

Our lawyers handle a comprehensive array of corporate work and can give advice on many types of commercial transactions. We handle corporate and joint venture formation, corporate housekeeping  (corporate secretary work), capital restructuring (e.g. registrations increases in a corporation’s capital stock), application for incentives under special laws and with specialized agencies such as the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Board of Investments, M&As, and due diligence work. Together with the Corporate Litigation and Securities Practice Group, our corporate work covers corporate finance, securities regulation, and corporate liquidation.

SRMO’s work from mid-1999 to present in this area includes:

  • DIVESTMENTS

Sale of ABB Koppel, Inc. to Fedders, International; Sale of Philippine Rubber Project Company (a Goodyear wholly-owned subsidiary) to a local cooperative; Sale by Asea Brown Boveri, Inc., of its entire holding in ABB Power, Inc., to ABB Power Generation Investment, B.V.; and more

  • ACQUISITIONS

Purchase of Selecta’s ice cream business by Unilever; Purchase of F.T. Information (Philippines), Inc., now known as Primark Philippines, Inc. by Datastream International Limited from Pearson NV via share acquisition; Legal due diligence on the proposed acquisition by Ayala Land, Inc., of Camella and Palmera Homes (C&P); Post acquisition legal audit on Chemphil Albright & Wilson Corporation for Rhodia; and more

  • MERGERS

Merger of Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems Philippines, Inc. with Siemens, Inc.

  • SPIN-OFFS

Spin-off of the Paper Division of PICOP Resources, Inc.

  • LISTING OF SHARES

Listing of Fastech shares in the Singapore Stock Exchange; Philippine Consultant for a listing of Ionics shares in the Singapore Stock Exchange

  • OTHERS

Indirect Acquisition of Lintas Manila through a holding company capitalized through an exchange of shares for control; Legal Audit of Siemens, Inc., and Siemens Power Operations, Inc, for a power plant expansion; Power Purchase Agreement between Island Power Corporation and National Power Corporation; Served as Legal Consultant to the Presidential Commission; Conducted Y2K Legal Due Diligence on PLDT; Acted as Y2K Legal Consultant for Pilipinas Shell, Goodyear, and Fuji Bank; and more

With the passage of the Philippine Competition Law and the issuance of its implementing rules and regulations and the creation of the Philippine Competition Commission, the firm not only offers advice to its corporate clients but also ensure that corporate transactions comply with the law.

Contact: Atty. Antonio C. Pido

 

The firm handles all types of emigration and immigration regulatory issues. We have represented many foreign clients, including expatriate officers of client companies before the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID).

 

Our work in this area includes: 

  • Application for Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas including Work Visa Applications, Labor Permits, and Special Work Permits and Provisional Permits to Work;
  • Securing Interim Visas, Special Return Certificates, and Emigration Clearance Certificates, as well as re-issuances;
  • Securing Alien Certificate of Registration, Certificate of Residence, and other emigration documents; and securing special type of visas (e.g. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Work Visa, Philippine Export Zone Authority Visa, Treaty Trader Visa, Investor’s Visa, Temporary Resident Visa, and Retiree’s Visa).

 

SRMO’S Immigration Law practice group and the litigation department have handled many citizenship and naturalization matters. The most notable case is Ernesto S. Mercado vs. Eduardo Manzano and the Commission on Elections dated 26 May 1999, which involved dual citizenship  status and its effect on a political candidate’s qualifications for public office. The Supreme Court agreed with the firm’s legal argument that the Constitution proscribed “dual allegiance” and not dual citizenship per se.

Contact: Atty. Carla E. Santamaria-Seña

 

The Philippines adheres to several international treaties and even passed several laws for the protection of intellectual property rights in the Philippines. Hence, our IP practice covers extensive areas for the enforcement and protection of IP rights of not only our local clients, but also our various international clients.

 

With extensive contacts in North America, Europe, and Japan, our work in this area includes:

  1. all types of intellectual property registrations and applications – for patent, trademark, trade name, service marks and copyright; by special arrangement, we can handle the preparation of patent claims and application documents (the specification, claim, abstract and drawings);
  2. original actions for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as Opposition and Cancellation of Registration, and Interference actions, and suits for infringement and unfair competition, whether filed in the Philippine Intellectual Property Office, the Regional Trial Court or the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Legal Affairs, and appellate proceedings in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court;
  3. preparation and review of technology transfer agreements, as well as other forms of licensing and assignments of intellectual property rights;
  4. rendering of legal opinions pertaining to enforcement and protection of IP rights in the Philippines.

 

Our firm’s IP department corresponds with several hundred patent attorneys all over the world, as well as with the patent departments of major corporations. We also advise Philippine and non-Philippine clients about the requirements of Philippine intellectual property

Contact: Atty. Romarie G. Villonco

 

The firm has extensive practice in collective bargaining negotiations, strike contingency, strike handling, labor litigation arising from termination, wage claims, unfair labor practice acts, and other employer-employee disputes, both trial and appellate, assumption-of-jurisdiction cases, compulsory and voluntary arbitration, and certification election proceedings.

 

Our lawyers advise corporate clients on labor standards, occupational health and safety, and labor relations matters. Our company conducts labor and employment relations seminars for our clients' managers. We have also contributed to landmark Supreme Court cases on labor law, such as Meralco vs. Secretary of Labor; Philippine Airlines vs. Confesor; Shell Oil Workers Union vs. Shell Phils. Inc.; and San Miguel Corporation Employees Union-PTGWO vs. Confesor.

 

SRMO’s latest activities in this area include:

  • CBA negotiations with the rank-and-file and supervisory units of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT);
  • CBA negotiations with the rank and file, sales supervisors, and supervisory units of various provincial plants of Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc.;
  • Certification election proceedings of the Supervisory Unit of San Miguel Foods Inc.;
  • Certification election proceedings of the rank and file and supervisory units of Coastal Subic Bay Terminal Inc.;
  • Litigation at the DOLE Secretary-level in assumption cases over CBA deadlocks in the Pilipino Telephone Corporation, Bayan Telecommunications Corp., and the Sales Supervisors unit of PLDT;
  • CBA negotiations with the rank-and-file unit of Equitable-PCIBank;
  • CBA negotiations with the rank-and-file units of Asea Brown Boveri Inc.;
  • Supreme Court litigation over CBA deadlock with the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) rank and file unit;
  • CBA negotiations with MERALCO’s rank-and-file unit

Contact: Atty. Ferdinand M. Hidalgo

 

The firm has extensive experience in handling mining matters. We have represented some of the Philippines’ largest mining companies, including Atlas Consolidated Mining Corporation, Philex Mining, Marcopper, and Maricalum Mining. We have also rendered advice to start-ups, joint ventures, and financiers of mining operations. We counsel clients on corporate, tax, and labor aspects, as well as those relating to natural resources law.

 

Our lawyers advise on foreign investment in the mining industry regarding limitations on foreign ownership under the relevant laws. We set up legal entities or combinations that are appropriate (e.g. joint ventures) to create a legal presence in the Philippines and undertake the mining investment. We prepare documents to affect the investment and protect minority rights or foreign interests, such as Share Purchase Agreement and Shareholders Agreement. We conduct comprehensive legal, due diligence on a target mining company or rights holder on behalf of the prospective investor/ acquirer,  including verification of the status of the grant, conflicting claims, and compliance with administrative and grant conditions. We also do advisory work in connection with filing, completion, and negotiation of mineral exploration, production sharing, and technical service agreements. Preparation of production sharing, offtake, royalty, and other agreements of similar nature.

 

SRMO’s latest activities in this area include:

  • Assisting in the drafting of the financing arrangements for mine expansion on behalf of a foreign financier;
  • Advising the principal stockholder in the full acquisition of a mining company through the purchase of shares and financial claims from its foreign owners;
  • Acting as counsel in the enforcement of share purchase agreements leading to the acquisition of a mining company from the Asset Privatization Trust;
  • Documentation ancillary to the listing of a foreign stock exchange of a company with local mining interests;
  • Drafting of exploration and production agreements on behalf of foreign investors dealing with owners of local properties;
  • Acting as Philippine counsel and its controlling Philippine stockholder in the corporate reorganization, financial restructuring and settlement with the foreign and domestic lenders, the exit of the 40% foreign stockholder, including the rendering of legal advisory services in connection with the handling of the tailing leak and its environmental consequences, the negotiation for the clean-up, rehabilitation, remediation and restoration agreements and dealing with the government agencies in the litigation involving the tailing leak.

Contact: Atty. Nicanor N. Padilla

 

The firm's Commercial Real Estate Transactions section has a substantial amount of experience with industrial park developers, operators, and their locators. We have dealt with land registration and titling, as well as environmental law and agrarian reform compliance matters with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Our lawyers have assisted these companies and their site selectors in obtaining the proper incentives from PEZA.

 

Our practice group’s strength is in real estate transaction documentation. We guarantee that the land transfer is properly documented and secure. We have handled land registration applications before the Regional Trial Courts. We have also worked to obtain land conversions from the DAR and environmental compliance certifications from the DENR.

 

SRMO, as part of its documentation process, drafted various agreements intended to protect the clients prior to the actual transaction, such as contracts to sell; and as part of the sale, such as real property sale or lease agreements and real estate mortgage documents. We have provided property developers with draft Master Deeds and legal assistance to create a Condominium and/or Locator's Association, with other post-transaction documentation where required.

Contact: Atty. Ferdinand M. Hidalgo

The firm is known for approaching tax problems from as many sides as possible, which leads us to say that we are well-versed in the complete range of the taxing process. We advise clients on the tax implications of various commercial transactions, including incentives awarded to PEZA, BOI, and SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) registered entities, as well as tax issues from mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate combinations. We can also secure the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Local Government Finance legal rulings on national and local tax issues.

Our lawyers handle a client’s initial contact with the tax process, taxpayer registration (local and national taxes), and tax clearances following a business’ dissolution, liquidation, or retirement. We apply for relief from double taxation under international tax treaties for our foreign and Philippine clients with overseas operations. In conjunction with our Labor Law Practice Group, we advise corporate clients on retirement plan benefits and separation pay tax issues. We also counsel our clients on effective estate planning.

SRMO, recognizing that advisory services are insufficient, has established tax litigation as a critical and specialized practice area. We handle protests of deficiency tax assessments made by the BIR and LGUs and duties assessed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and prosecute administrative claims for tax refunds erroneously paid to the government. Our lawyers also manage protests of real property assessments to the Board of Assessments and appeals to the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. We have appeared before regular and specialized tax courts for tax refunds and/or tax credit suits. Our litigation experience includes appellate practice in the Court of Tax Appeals and Supreme Court.

Visit Us

4th & 6th Floors, BDO Towers Paseo (Formerly Citibank Center) 8741 Paseo de Roxas Makati City 1226, Philippines

Give Us A Call

+63 (2) 8810 0282-90

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