‘You’ve had your chance,’ Yanson siblings told
The matriarch of the feuding Yanson clan of Bacolod City yesterday made an impassioned appeal to her four children behind the recent boardroom coup that grabbed control of the country’s largest bus company from their youngest sibling and longtime company president, Leo Rey Yanson.
In a statement released to the media, 85-year-old Olivia Villaflor Yanson—who cofounded the parent company of what is now Ceres Bus Lines in the 1960s—said the group of Roy, Emily, Celina and Ricardo Jr. that staged the July 7 takeover of the firm’s headquarters had made life difficult for her in her old age.
“You had your chance to prove yourselves while your father was alive,” she said, referring to the late Ricardo Sr., who passed away in 2015, leaving the multibillion transportation empire in the hands of his youngest, Leo Rey.
Olivia defended the decision of her late husband to bypass all his older children and entrust the company to his youngest, saying he “placed great value on merit and competence.”
“Bearing the Yanson name does not automatically make you capable of handling the company,” she said. “Despite this, Leo Rey did not neglect you. You have greatly benefitted from his sacrifices in the company. You were given what was due to you—all without you breaking a single sweat.”
Ever since assuming control of the firm, the 45-year-old Leo Rey grew its fleet size from only 1,600 to 4,000, making it the country’s largest bus operator. Its employee head count also rose from 6,500 to 18,000 in 15 major bus terminals nationwide.
Leo Rey told the Inquirer in an interview that the company had an average net income margin of 30 percent of its annual multibillion-peso revenue, and that 50 percent of the yearly earnings were distributed equally among the Yanson siblings, equivalent to hundreds of millions each.
In her statement, Olivia appealed to her four children who were trying to wrest control of the firm: “If you can still find love and respect within yourselves for me, I simply ask you to stop your attempt of taking over the terminals, the branches and head office. Every time you bring your security forces and legal team to force yourselves in, our people experience anxiety and fear.”
She said the company’s employees were solid in their support for Leo Rey, who also had her support as well as that of her other daughter, Ginnette Yanson-Dumancas, adding “if you insist on the legality of your claims, let the courts decide first before proceeding on any actions against the terminals or against any employees loyal to me or LRY,” referring to Leo Rey’s initials.
“If you will not listen to me because your hearts are already cold, listen to your 18,000 employees—the very same people who toil day and night to make us what we are now,” she said. “They deserve that.”
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