Standoff in the Yanson family feud – 4

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

LAST August 30, I received a photocopy of a news clipping from the Daily Inquirer (August 30) on the case of qualified theft against Rowena Sarona for allegedly “to have illegally disbursed a number of checks amounting to at least P27 million to suspicious beneficiaries.”

Here are so far the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation. Sarona claimed that “she was victimized by budol-budol or gang of swindlers, alluding to the involvement of her boyfriend from abroad.” Anyway, that excuse did not clear her so that a case was filed. The inquiry is still going on.

The encashment of the checks was discovered “when one of their banks called about a ‘questionable’ issuance of checks. It was a personal check that the cashier tried to encash. It was then found out this was not just a one-time deal; over the course of two years, about 10 checks had been encashed by various beneficiaries. As such, Lopez (Celina) said the budol-budol story was hard to believe.”

It is incredible that for a large company, this operation had persisted for two years without being discovered. The only plausible explanation is that Sarona had either a brain of a genius or had clearance from the top.

“Because of this Lopez said the six Yanson siblings, held a board meeting and decided to terminate the services of Rey Repollo, the company’s vice president for supply and logistics due to command responsibility. The termination came with separation pay and exoneration from the case that involved Sarona.”

The report thus confirms what I had been writing before, citing other sources. It is clear the decision to terminate Repollo was a unanimous decision of the six Yanson children – the entire board of directors of VTI. It would have then been a normal course of events until Olivia intervened. She “got angry that she had no more power” because she wanted Repollo “to stay” and as I wrote earlier, her anger became the trigger point.

Olivia demanded for her “voting rights and to reclaim board control” but she no longer had shares in the company and therefore no voting rights that could reverse the board’s decision. She filed a case to reclaim her share; this case is pending in court.

The news also said that “the bottom line is that our mom plays favorites not just within the family but also within the company.”

That is fantastic. A favorite employee of Olivia Yanson can be responsible for millions of pesos and she will defend that employee even to the extent of alienating her children and grandchildren, breaking up the company and destroying the family’s public image.  Is that reasonable?

Correct me, but it seems now that the bottom line in this family conflict is the pride and incredible sense of loyalty of Olivia Yanson. Throughout the discussion of this feud, the data point to this indefensible favoritism.

Last year, I was invited to join a pleasure trip through the Danube River, but I had other plans to go to the US for research needed for the War and Peace Museum we are building. My friend told me that Olivia Yanson will be joining the group and “if she likes anybody, she will even pay for the trip.” That was fine, a person so rich can be so generous. I never thought that her kind of generosity can go beyond reason and risk everything.

Is her generosity to a favorite in line with the Biblical passage, “Greater love than this no man hath than to lay down his life for a friend”? Of course, to follow this we must also determine whether the person that violates our trust and confidence is a friend worth losing everything.

Sadly, for the family, Olivia chose to reject her four children for her “adopted son” and until she accepts the reality of where her rightful choice must be, this conflict will find no amicable resolution.

The camp of Olivia and Leo Rey appeal to the emotions – love of a mother who with her age wanted the love of her children. But as the Spaniards would say, “amor con amor se paga”. She made her choice, the protection of an employee that created the situation of this conflict. The four children made theirs, to protect the family legacy.

Let’s continue tomorrow.