AVELINO V. CRUZPosition: Senior Partner
Department: Corporate and Special Projects
Asean Legal Systems
Construction and Infrastructure
Energy / Oil and Gas
Foreign Investments and Joint Ventures
Intra-Corporate Disputes / Proxy Fights / Corporate Take-overs
Mergers and Acquisitions
Atty. Avelino V. Cruz is one of the five Founding Partners of Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW), one of the most prestigious Law Firms in the Philippines. He is at present, the lead Senior Partner of the Firm.
He is the elected President of the Asean Law Association (ALA) of the Philippines and an established leader of the regional ALA, having served as its Secretary General. He serves in the Board of Governors of the Citizens Legal Aid Society of the Philippines (CLASP), the country’s pioneer legal aide organization, where he was President from 1995 to 2001.
Mr. Cruz is the first Filipino invited to membership at the prestigious American Law Institute, which serves as the US Supreme Court think-tank. He continuous to serve in its Consultative Council.
At the age of 20, he was initially disqualified by the Supreme Court (for being under age) from taking the 1961 Bar Examinations, but upon his motion, was given a special permit. He obtained first place with a grade of 90.95% over a field of 4,395 candidates, the youngest topnotcher in Philippine history.
Finished as Valedictorian in both Elementary and High School at Pasig Catholic College, he then obtained a Bachelors Degree (Ll.B.) Magna cum laude and Valedictorian from San Beda College of Law. He obtained his Master of Laws (Ll.M.) degree in 1964 from the University of Michigan Law School where he finished with an outstanding academic record. On this basis, he was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship for International Legal Studies at the University of California Law School at Berkely upon recommendation of Prof. Sanford Kadish (later Dean of Law, UC Berkeley). He is also a recipient of the US Fullbright-Hayes Scholarship and the Dewitt Fellowship. He completed Business Leadership and Modern Managers courses at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Mr. Cruz has been in continuous practice of Law since he was admitted to the Bar in 1962. Early on, the late Dean Feliciano Jover Ledesma of San Beda recruited him to work as a student-researcher in his Law Firm of Ledesma & Puno, where Mr. Cruz worked until he was tapped as student researcher by Supreme Court Justice Alex Reyes and, thereafter, by his son, Court of Appeals Justice Andres Reyes. Upon passing the Bar, he was engaged as a litigation attorney by Pelaez and Jalandoni Law firm where he specialized in the handling of murder and homicide cases. Noteworthy was his successful defense of Lauro Marquez who was acquitted in the celebrated Spielman murder trial, an off-shoot of the Harry Stonehill deportation controversy.
At ACCRALAW, Mr. Cruz has become one of the Philippines’ most experienced lawyers in Corporate and Business Law, Public Utilities, Oil & Energy, stockholders’ disputes, Real Estate development and acquisition projects, and government privatization. He served as Director in the Boards of such companies as Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Philippine Airlines, Petron, Philippine Bank of Commerce, PNB Remittance Center of Los Angeles, Associated Bank, Banco Filipino, Chemphil Industries of the Philippines, Ortigas & Co., Ltd. and, recently, was elected Chairman of the Hawaiian Airlines’ Airbridge, Inc. in the Philippines.
He led the Law Firm in corporate disputes which drew landmark Supreme Court decisions, such as the American Standard/Saniwares, Chemphil and the Associated Bank/Leonardy Ty corporate struggles. Over the years, Mr. Cruz has brought to his Firm and still services major American, Japanese and other foreign clients.
In 2008, Mr. Cruz was cited in the prestigious London Publication “Chambers Asia”, to wit: “Renowned for corporate experience, founding partner Avelino Cruz is described as “top of the league”.” It also noted that “the vastly experienced Avelino Cruz is one of the country’s leading real estate lawyers. He has played a key role in the Firm’s recent major real estate deals and clients commend his work as “top-drawer”.”
Before the founding of ACCRALAW from 1967 to 1971, he was engaged as general counsel and member of the Management Committee of Mobil Oil Philippines and worked briefly in the Corporate Planning Division in the New York Head Office of Mobil Oil Corporation. More recently, from 1998 to 2001, he served as director in the Board of Petron Corporation, then a government joint venture with Aramco.
In 2008 he was voted “Most Outstanding Legal Practitioner” at the 19th National Consumers Awards of the Consumers Union of the Philippines.
Law Teaching & Legal Publications:
He taught Law at San Beda College of Law from 1962 to 1974. From 1981 to 1984, he was engaged as lecturer at the University of the Philippines Law Center and a Professor for “International Business Transactions” at the UP College of Law.
He is the author of a number of lead articles in legal journals and publications: “Comparative Study of the Philippines and the United States Law on Citizenship by Birth” (San Beda Law Journal, Vol. VII, December 1965); “Unfolding Events in the Retail Trade Nationalization Law” (San Beda Law Journal, Vol. X, April 1968); “In Search of the Filipino Lawyer’s New Code of Ethics” (Law Journal of the Integrated Bar, 1978, Vol. 6, Nov. 4) and “Legal Ethics” (1978 Proceedings of the Institute of Trial Techniques, University of the Philippines); “Corporate Insolvency: The Philippine Experience,” (Singapore Conference on International Business Law, 1989); “Citizens’ Legal Aid Society of the Philippines (CLASP): Helping to Rebuild the Justice System of the Philippines” (Manila Bulletin, June 14, 1993); “The Principle of Check and Balance as a Means to Strengthen the People’s Faith in our Courts of Law” (Manila Bulletin, July 16, 1993); “Constitutional Dysfunctions & the Rule of Law” (Today, April 18, 2002; The Philippine Star, April 20, 2002 & The San Beda Law Journal, February 2003); “A Case of Deep Selection for the Philippine Supreme Court” (Malaya, October 4, 2002); “A Man’s Reach” (Philippine Star, January 23, 2003); “Simply Holding Elections Do Not a Democracy Make” (San Beda Law Journal, March 2005); “Foreign Direct Investments in the Philippines” (Asean Law Journal, 2008).
Public Service and Political Involvements:
In 1986, following the EDSA revolution, he served as legal adviser to then Vice President and Prime Minister the late Salvador H. Laurel and briefly acted as Deputy to the Prime Minister specially assigned to Cabinet meetings. In that capacity, he became head of the Working Committee composed of then Deputy Minister, (now Chief Justice) Reynato Puno, Solicitor (later Justice) Minerva Reyes and Secretary Fulgencio Factoran, Jr., as members), which drafted the “Freedom Constitution”. This Constitution governed the Philippines from March, 1986 until the 1987 Constitution’s adoption in February, 1987.
Mr. Cruz has served as General Counsel for the Laban Ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), one of the largest political parties in the Philippines. In that capacity, he helped the LDP-led opposition to win the 1998 presidential election. Previous to that, he served as Chief Legal Counsel of the Nacionalista Party, the country’s oldest political party under the leadership of Vice President Laurel.
In the 2004 presidential elections, he was engaged as Chairman of the LEAD (Lawyers for Electoral Advancement & Democracy) and headed the team of lawyers that represented the opposition presidential and vice presidential candidates in the National Canvassing and proclamation in Congress in 2004. This controversial proceedings lasted from May to June 2004, the most hotly contested National Canvass in Philippine history. He drafted the “Minority Report” submitted officially to the journals of Congress, which raised legitimacy issues that continue to take center stage in the country. He also led the team of lawyers in the official protest for the presidential and vice presidential results before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal composed of members of the Supreme Court.
In March 2005, for his courageous role in the controversial 2004 election dispute, he was awarded the San Beda College “Most Outstanding Bedan of the Year” award. Previously, in 2001, he was conferred the “Bedan of the Century” award for Law, on the occasion of the Centennial celebration of San Beda College in the Philippines. And in 2008, he was elevated to the exclusive “Hall of Fame” of the San Beda College, an honor reserved for Bedan greats, which include Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion. Since 2002, he has served as the incumbent Chairman of the San Beda College of Law Alumni Association. Previously from 1981 to 1984, he served as President of the San Beda General Alumni Association.
In 1984, he received the “Most Outstanding Citizen of Pasig” award from Pasig City, Metro Manila, his hometown.
Asean Law Association (ALA)
Mr. Cruz is one of the established leaders of the regional Bar society, Asean Law Association. He served as regional chairman for the Philippines in 1985 and again in 2002. In 1992, he was elected ALA Secretary General. During his term, ALA initiated the first region-wide study – “Asean Legal Systems” published in 1995 by Butterworths Asia. He served in various capacities during the ALA General Assemblies and as Philippine representative in the ALA Governing Council meetings where he initiated the organization of the ALA Golf Chapter, which has since, heightened mutual legal cooperation among ALA members.
Along with then Supreme Court Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato S. Puno, he represented ALA in 1999 at the Singapore Conference held by the American Law Institute. He also served as the Conference Chairman of the Special Commemorative General Assembly of ALA on its 25th Anniversary in 2005. In 2007, he was elected President of the Asean Law Association of the Philippines.
Integrated Bar and other Bar Societies:
On various occasions, Mr. Cruz has assumed leadership of the Philippines’ principal lawyer organizations. He served as President of the Legal Management Council of the Philippines, the Asean Law Association of the Philippines, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Rizal Chapter, and the Citizens Legal Aid Society of the Philippines. He was elected Vice President and Governor of the IBP for Southern Luzon in 1979. He headed the Ethics Committee and helped in the enactment of the lawyers’ new Code of Professional Responsibility. His publication, “In search of the Filipino Lawyer’s New Code of Ethics (Law Journal of the Integrated Bar, 1978, Vol. 6, Nov. 4) and “Legal Ethics” (1978 Proceedings of the Institute of Trial Techniques, University of the Philippines) were used for this purpose. In 1979, he received a special award of distinction from the IBP for securing a donation of a prime site in Ortigas Center, where the IBP’s national headquarters now stand.
In 2000, he was elected Centennial President of the Manila Golf Club, Asia’s oldest and most prestigious golf club. During his incumbency, he initiated the first total redesign and renovation in 50 years of the Club’s golf course in Makati, which was finally executed and completed in January 2008.
The newly renovated course has since won international awards of distinction from the golfing world. Since 1990, he has been a member of the Tournament Players Club in Sawgrass, Florida, site of the PGA members championship course. He is a senior member of the Manila Rotary Club, the first Rotary Club of Asia.
In 2005, he composed the Asean Law Association (ALA) Hymn in celebration of the Association’s 25th Anniversary and teamed up with Court of Appeals Justice Magdangal M. de Leon who wrote its lyrics. Words and music of the Hymn were officially adopted by the Governing Council of ALA in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2006 as the official “ALA Anthem”.
He has continued to compose other pieces: “San Beda College of Law Hymn” (music and lyrics by Atty. Avelino V. Cruz); “Sa Aking Ina” (with lyrics by Justice Magdangal de Leon); “Sa Aking Mga Magulang” (“To My Parents”) with lyrics by Prof. Ed Manguiat; “Ave Maria” (music: Atty. Avelino Cruz; arranged by Carmela Nabor); “Dakilang Pilipinas: Alay kay Doy” (“Noble Philippines: Offering to Doy”) music: Atty. Avelino Cruz; with lyrics by Justice Magdangal de Leon; “My Sweetest Moment” (music & lyrics by Atty. Avelino Cruz); and “Dancing with the Stars” (“When we’re in Penang”) music and lyrics by Atty. Avelino Cruz with Mrs. Helen Cruz; choral arrangement by Justice Magdangal de Leon; more recently, he composed the words and
music (choral arrangement by Justice de Leon) of the inspirational song “Miracle of Montecassino”.
Mr. Cruz is the son of national artist nominee, the late acclaimed Philippine tenor, Octavio V. Cruz. His grandfather by his mother, Andrea Velasquez, is Casimiro Velasquez, the first Judge of Rizal province, who traces his roots to Galicia, Spain. Mr. Cruz is an accomplished classical pianist and as a member of the National Artists Guild, began public performances at the age of 6. He continues to render short recitals, specializing in the Chopin repertoire.
He is married to Helen A. Canave, a pharmacist, of Lingayen, Pangasinan. They have four children: Ma. Nerissa, Franz, Maria Tricia and Mary Rosalynn, all with college degrees from leading schools and universities in the Philippines and the United States.