‘MONEY WELL SPENT’: ‘Ousted’ Yanson son denies misusing company funds

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – An embattled member of the Yanson clan, owners of Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI) which operates the Ceres Bus Line, denied misusing more than P11.8 million in company funds.

Leo Rey Yanson, who was ousted as president and CEO of VTI a week ago, said the alleged unauthorized cash withdrawals that were charged to miscellaneous expenses and personal accounts are regular.

Leo Rey issued the clarification after his elder sister Ma. Lourdes Celina Y. Lopez accused him of malversing VTI funds.

Celina said Leo Rey was ousted because of alleged unauthorized cash withdrawals.

Leo Rey said Celina, VTI’s chief finance officer, herself signed a memorandum giving the company president the power to allow miscellaneous transactions.

He was referring to Memorandum No. 201612-21 dated December 21, 2017 which was co-signed by Celina and assistant chief finance officer Jerica Ramos.

Leo Rey said the memo did not require the company president to explain transactions covered by miscellaneous expenses.

“I was only exercising the power that has been exercised ever since our father RBY (the late Ricardo B. Yanson Sr.) was the president, no more no less,” he explained.

“My action is also in consonance with what has been provided by law since presidents practice general supervision and control over corporate day-to-day operations.”

Leo Rey said that out of the P11.8 million, only P8.5 million was charged to miscellaneous expense, particularly the welfare of their employees.

“I see it fit as the President and CEO of this company to use the amount for the improvement of the morale and well-being of our employees. You may agree with me that our people made this company what it is today. On its face, P8.5 million may seem like a substantial amount, but nowhere near the income we have earned from the hard work of our people. It is only right that we return to them as much as we can. I firmly believe that this action is reasonable, informed, made in good faith and in the best interest of the corporation.”

Leo Rey also raised the fact that he helped grow their business after Ricardo Sr. handed to him the company‘s reins.

“As to the allegation that this cash withdrawal is an imprudent act, may I restate the fact that when our father entrusted me the reins of the entire YGBC (Yanson Group of Bus Companies), we were only earning so much. Under my watch, our company has grown to an exponential 300% (by conservative estimate).”

He also said that he assumed all the risks in running their company, particularly in dealing with employees.

“All businesses have risks and while you sit down in your office counting the hard-earned income, I on the other hand, motivate employees, gained more resources, exert all possible efforts to beat last year’s performance, take constant risks in my decision making thus absorbing all the blame in running the day to day operations of this company.

It has been over a decade into my term and our company’s growth can attest to the simple fact that the risks I take for the company has paid off well for us.”

Earlier, the Yanson matriarch, Olivia, asked Celina to explain the P380 million missing from the coffers of VTI when she headed the finance department.

Olivia said that until now, Celina could not account for the money.