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PH’s biggest bus venture wracked by siblings’ feud

BACOLOD CITY— Four members of the Bacolod-based billionaire Yanson family executed a boardroom coup last Sunday (July 7) and took control of the country’s largest bus transportation group that included Ceres Lines and several other Visayas- and Mindanao-based bus companies.

The surprise weekend move — the result of a long-running family feud — resulted in the ouster of Leo Rey Yanson as president of Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI), Bachelor Express Inc., Rural Transit Mindanao Inc., Sugbo Transit Express Inc. and Mindanao Star Business Transit Inc.

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The firms are part of the Yanson Group of Bus Companies which altogether operates a fleet of at least 4,800 buses nationwide, and employs some 18,000 workers around the country.

Leo Rey, who assailed the takeover as illegal, was replaced by his elder brother, Roy, who was allied with their other siblings, Lourdes Celina Yanson-Lopez, Emily Yanson and Ricardo Yanson.

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Leo Rey Yanson, meanwhile, is allied with Jeannette Yanson Dumancas, as well as the family matriarch, who was also removed from the companies’ boards.

Sources told the Inquirer that Roy Yanson’s group now has physical control of the company and has posted armed guards in the premises to deter any attempt by the former president to reclaim the helm of the firm.

The takeover was a result of a special board meeting held last Sunday, according to Roy’s lawyer, Sheila Sison, who explained that the ousted Leo Rey will continue to serve as director and member of the board of the five firms.

The board also replaced the corporate officers to ensure a seamless transition of the transport firm’s administration.

“Despite this revamp, the board assures the public, its employees, and all its stakeholders that the company remains committed to serve the riding public. Company policies and programs will remain the same, and its transport services will continue to be fully operational,” Sison said.

In a separate press statement, Leo Rey said he does not recognize the “illegal actions” of his siblings. He also condemned the presence of armed men in the VTI main headquarters at Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod.

The actions of his four siblings, he said, did not comply with the requirements of the Corporation Code and the By-Laws of VTI.

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“The removal was only done through a special meeting of which the election/removal of the president was not even included in the agenda,” Leo Rey said.

“We condemn the act of the de facto President, Roy Yanson in bringing in armed men inside company premises, sowing unnecessary fear amongst the employees. The act of the de facto President will surely hamper the operations of the company and spread confusion among the employees,” he added. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)

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TAGS: Bacolod, boardroom, Bus, Ceres, Mindanao, transportation, Visayas
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