Standoff in the Yanson family feud-2

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

THE issue now centers on Olivia Yanson’s claim of full ownership of Vallacar Transit Inc. as declared by Leo Rey and published in local newspapers last Friday. Calling his siblings who ousted him as “ingrates”, he also said that “legally and morally” their mother owns the Vallacar company because she and their father started it.

He said that their mother should befittingly and properly “accorded respect over what she built over the years”. He attributed the refusal of his four siblings to return her share to “insatiable greed and plain opportunism.” That is saying a lot as he concluded that these attributes have impelled them “to disrespect OVY and claim falsities against her simply because OVY is advancing in age and her husband, Ricardo V. Yanson is no longer around.”

These are loaded accusations that strike at the heart of every mother and child and surely generated to gain public sympathy. Indeed, are not children who refuse to “return” what their mother worked for, “ingratiates” and deserving of public scorn?

But to impersonal observers, these statements need to be examined for their premises and what lies behind in order to be fair to the concerned siblings and most importantly that the public is not deluded to sympathize based on diluted facts and muddled reason. Until the tirades of Leo Rey are resolved, how can there be ground for reconciliation?

It is entirely true that Olivia worked hard with her husband to build the company, but it is also true that she gave up her share to the children, not by force or cunning but voluntarily years ago while her husband was still alive. Nevertheless, deceased or alive when Olivia gave up her share of the company, the fact remains she voluntarily distributed them to her children. Leo Rey tells half-truths.

Perhaps it is inconceivable that parents should already give their shares of the conjugal properties to their children while they were still alive. But this is not new nor by a few. Many wealthy families do this to evade taxes. They call this “estate planning” and Leo Rey must admit that they had several sessions of estate planning and therefore it is unthinkable that Olivia was coerced by “insatiably greedy and opportunistic” children to give up her share. That is what Leo Rey wants us to believe. He should give the public a little credit for not being naïve.

Olivia filed a case in court to recover her shares. In which case, it is easy to prove by her declaration whether she was coerced to distribute them, or she gave them up willingly and freely and that by giving part of her property she was not reduced into penury. If she did not distribute her shares willingly to her children, Leo Rey should release her mother’s case files submitted to the court. Here we will know whether she gave up her share freely or was coerced, otherwise, he is not telling the truth. His credibility hangs on a thin thread.

Did the so-called Yanson 4, disobey their mother? The facts coming out of the news do not indicate so. Obedience is demanded to be accorded to an authority – parents, superiors, priests – when they issue orders that are legitimate or morally upright but must refuse or withdraw obedience if they were to commit a grave offense. Even God will not demand obedience for acts that transgress moral or natural laws.

Since the beginning I sensed where the debate was going, the reason I traced the cause of this conflict. We now know how it began – the demand of Olivia for her four siblings to condone or be complicit with a legally and morally unreasonable demand – to exonerate Leo Rey who continues to refuse to explain P380 millions of company funds and to look the other way rather than make an employee pay for his misdeeds.

If the four had complied with Olivia’s demands, they would have laid the foundation for VTI’s financial bleeding. For if Leo Rey did not have to explain the missing P380 million and Rey Repollo to be disciplined for irregularity, what would stop others from following suit?

More next week.