By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
ROY YANSON, the new president of five of the companies under the Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC), which controls the biggest bus operations in the Visayas and Mindanao, urged his younger brother, Leo Rey, to fulfil the wishes of their deceased father for the family to unite and preserve his legacy.
The Yansons are now embroiled in a legal tug-of-war over control of the five companies belonging to the YGBC which Roy’s father, Ricardo S. Yanson Sr., built from a single jeepney unit into the biggest group of bus companies in the country.
Ricardo died in 2015 but before he passed away, the late patriarch appeared in a video and appealed to his wife Olivia and children to avoid legal battles and just focus on growing the company.
Roy issued a statement on July 14, 2019, a day before a hearing begins at a local court in Bacolod that will resolve the application for a restraining order against Roy and his fellow corporate officers.
The court relief sought by Leo Rey is part of the case that aims to prevent Roy and his other siblings from controlling the YGBC companies. It also questioned the recent board decision ousting Leo Rey from the presidency.
“We may have disagreements now, but I still believe that blood is thicker than water or power, I should say. I know Leo, even my sister Ginnette and my mother Olivia want nothing more than the best interest of this company which dad started. Before my late father died, he appealed to everyone’s cooperation to manage the company which he has built with his blood, toil and tears and avoid family disputes, especially legal,” Roy said.
The clan matriarch Olivia and another sister Ginnette Yanson-Dumancas have sided with Leo Rey. The union presidents of the Vallacar Transit Inc., which operates the Ceres bus lines, also sided with the embattled former president.
Leo Rey was recently removed as president of the company after the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Celina Y. Lopez claimed to have discovered several bank withdrawals he made without authorization from management.
Lopez alleges that the withdrawals amounted to several hundreds of millions of pesos.
Those amounts, Lopez reported, constituted funds allocated for salaries and employee benefits of 18,000 bus workers based in Bacolod City, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Davao City.
Roy said the removal of Leo Rey as president was part of the family’s plan of professionalizing the bus management.
While he praised Leo for spearheading efforts to grow the business, Roy believes that some “customs” or “internal procedures” should change because the company needs to modernize its processes and operations to safeguard corporate funds for employees.
“We continue on improving our auditing and accounting procedures to maintain the integrity of our collections. Right now, so far what we have discovered are withdrawals made by Leo, covered by official communications with our banks. There are no lost funds amounting to P380 million. I think my mother Olivia was fed wrongful or malicious information. What we have so far, as evidence, was the one discovered by my sister Celina who works as our Chief Financial Officer pertaining to withdrawals made by Leo Rey which, until now, remains unaccounted,” Roy said.
Roy also appealed to Leo Rey and his mother Olivia to allow the new management to have full control of the company bus terminals in the North and South of Bacolod City to ensure the integrity of collections and avoid endangering the financial standing of the entire group of companies.
Several groups, Roy added, are interested on dividing the family company. This dispute is not doing the family any good.
If this happens, Roy says, their family, the Yansons, are on the losing end.
“That’s why I appeal to my younger brother Leo, to be very circumspect. He is a reasonable guy. He is my blood. He must not let forces destroy what dad built.”