TAPALES PRODON WEE-TOE HIO & CRUZ is a full-service law firm established by Angelo M. Tapales, Nancy R. Prodon-Tapales, Myra Anne L. Wee-Toe Hio, Romulus V. Tatel, and Axel Rupert M. Cruz. The firm's office is located at LG7 Cityland 10 Tower 1, H.V. Dela Costa corner Valero Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City, at the heart of the Makati Central Business District, Metro Manila, Philippines.
The firm has a diverse practice ranging from general legal advisory work to litigation and dispute resolution. The members of the firm have extensive knowledge, training, and experience in the fields of litigation and dispute resolution, labor and employment law, corporate and commercial law, intellectual property law, civil and family law, criminal law, real estate and property law, immigration law, tax law, and customs and tariff law.
The firm is affiliated with Lorenzana & Sahran, Inc., a U.S. law firm with affiliates in the U.S.A., U.A.E., China, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Spain, and the Philippines.
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Litigation and dispute resolution is the heart of the legal profession. The firm handles various civil, criminal, administrative, commercial, property, labor, and family litigation cases before various courts, tribunals, and administrative bodies. It also provides comprehensive and dynamic pre-litigation assessments and evaluations of its clients' legal concerns.
The interplay of local labor laws in the success of one’s business cannot be overemphasized. The firm possesses superior knowledge and experience in labor dispute resolution and labor law advisory work, and offers the following services: 1.) Rendering advice on various labor and employment issues, including issues relating to compensation, benefits, social insurance, termination, and retirement 2.) Prosecution and defense of labor cases 3.) Assisting clients in the collective bargaining process 4.) Drafting and review of employment contracts, compensation schemes, company rules and regulations, and agreements relating to the client’s human relations requirements
The firm currently assists various corporate clients (principals and manpower agencies) comply with the provisions of DOLE Department Order No. 174, Series of 2017 (Rules Implementing Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, as Amended).
Juridical entities, such as partnerships and corporations, are highly regulated in the Philippines. Compliance with the rules and regulations of regulatory agencies, particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is a major concern of any business venture, as it ensures unhampered and unrestricted operations, and avoidance of penalties and license revocation. The firm has ably assisted its corporate clients from the pre-incorporation stage of their existence up to the dissolution and winding up of their affairs. The firm’s services in this area include, but are not limited to, the following: 1.) Handling of registration of juridical entities such as partnerships and corporations; 2.) Corporate housekeeping and monitoring of compliance with SEC reportorial requirements; 3.) Handling of amendments of articles of incorporations and by-laws; and 4.) Drafting and reviewing of various contracts, memoranda of agreement, and similar documents; 5.) General advisory on various corporate and commercial law issues; and 6.) Assistance in corporate dissolution and winding up of corporate affairs.
Intellectual Property Law is an important area of legal practice in the Philippines. The firm is proud to offer its services for the protection of one’s proprietary rights over a trademark, business name, and other intellectual property. The firm has extensive training and experience in intellectual property law, including intellectual property infringement and enforcement. The firm's legal services include: 1.) Application for registration of trademarks and other intellectual property; 2.) Monitoring of compliance with the Intellectual Property Office’s requirements and regulations over registered trademarks and other intellectual property; 3.) Rendering advice on various intellectual property law issues; 4.) Monitoring, among others, of marks which infringe on one’s registered trademark or trade logo; and 5.) Prosecution of cases involving violation and infringement of one’s proprietary rights over registered trademarks and other intellectual property rights.
The firm has extensive experience in civil and family law. Among others, the firm handles the following cases: collection of sum of money, enforcement of contractual rights, specific performance and rescission of contracts, claims for damages, annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage, legal separation, support, adoption, guardianship, child custody, settlement of estate of deceased persons, testate and intestate succession, various forms of estate planning, correction and cancellation of entries in documents in the civil registry, and change of name.
The firm also has superior knowledge and experience in handling criminal law cases. The firm currently handles (as private prosecutor and defense lawyer) criminal cases arising from violations of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines and other special penal laws, such as, but not limited to, the following: Estafa and various forms of swindling, other deceits, violation of BP Blg. 22, Anti-Red Tape Act, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, theft, qualified theft, violence against women and their children, murder, homicide, physical injuries, reckless imprudence, various threats and coercions, unjust vexation, adultery, concubinage, falsification, perjury, and slander or oral defamation.
The firm also has a deep understanding of various property law issues, such as, but not limited to, the following: foreclosure of mortgages, enforcement of liens over properties, protection of ownership and possessory rights over property, usufruct, easements and servitudes, partitions, ejectment, quieting of title, sale, lease, donation, assignment, transfer, and conveyance of properties. It also handles real property law litigation concerning violations of special laws relating, among others, to real estate, condominium, and subdivision management, administration, and development.
The firm also has extensive experience in handling cases relating to issuance of land titles, reconstitution of lost titles, amendment of, and removal of annotation on, certificates of titles. It also renders tax declaration and land title verification and due diligence services to its clients.
The firm has a dynamic tax law practice. It has (a) assisted its clients in optimizing tax benefits in mergers and acquisitions; (b) rendered various estate planning services in connection with tax-deferred transfers of properties in exchange of shares of stocks; (c) handled tax cases before the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Court of Tax Appeals in connection with disputed tax assessments; (d) rendered tax opinions and risk assessments on corporate transactions and tax audits of corporations; and (e) assisted clients in obtaining tax rulings from the BIR.
The firm also assists various clients in matters relating to (a) customs and tariff laws issues; (b) importer/exporter/PEZA locator accreditation; (c) customs audit and seizure proceedings; (d) intellectual property enforcement at the border; (e) international trade practices; and (f) customs litigation before the Regional Trial Court, Court of Tax Appeals, and Supreme Court.
The firm is currently an accredited law office with the Bureau of Immigration under Memorandum Circular No. MCL-09-002. It assists its clients in securing various types of visas with the Bureau of Immigration and Alien Employment Permit (AEP) with the Department of Labor and Employment.
Important updates and other Legal Information
Last 16 March 2017, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released Department Order No. 174, Series of 2017, which provided the rules regarding the implementation of Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, as amended, or those governing contracting and subcontracting arrangements.
Section 5 of D.O. No. 174 expressly prohibits labor-only contracting, which is defined as an arrangement where the contractor or subcontractor (a) (i) does not have substantial capital, or (ii) does not have investments in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, supervision, work premises, among others, and (b) does not exercise the right of control over the performance of the work of the employee.
Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) (on Premature Marriages) prohibits any widow from marrying within three hundred and one (301) days from the death of her late husband, or before having delivered a child, if she was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death. A violation of this prohibition, under the RPC, is penalized with arresto mayor (i.e., imprisonment of one month and one day to six months). Article 351 of the RPC also provides that the same penalty shall be imposed upon women whose marriages shall have been annulled or dissolved, if they remarry before the period of 301 days after legal separation.
On 20 March 2015, President Benigno Aquino, III signed into law Republic Act No. 10655, entitled "An Act Repealing the Crime of Premature Marriages under Article 351 of Act No. 3815, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code". RA No. 10655 expressly repealed Article 351 of the RPC on premature marriages. As a result, the premature marriages contemplated under said Article 351 have now been decriminalized. Meaning, a widow or a woman whose marriage has been recently annulled or nullified can now marry without observing the 301 day waiting period provided under the repealed Article 351.
Under Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 6-2014, as amended by RR No. 5-2012, all taxpayers who intends to file a “No Payment” Return shall do so electronically using the eBIRForms. However, recently, through Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 18-2015 dated 10 April 2015, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) announced the deferment of the electronic filing of “No Payment” Returns in order to allow the Bureau to focus on income tax returns with payments. Thus, according to the BIR, “No Payment” Returns may be filed manually on or before 15 April 2015 with the proper Revenue District Office through the use of the official BIR printed forms or the offline eBIRForms.
In any case, taxpayers need to re-file their “No Payment” Returns electronically in the BIR’s systems on or before 15 June 2015 to prevent the imposition of penalties prescribed under the earlier RR No. 5-2015 for filing through a mode/venue different from that prescribed by regulation.
The subject of MC No. 18-2015 dated 10 April 2015 instantaneously took effect.
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