Yanson faction retakes control of giant Ceres bus firm from rebel siblings
MANILA, Philippines — The faction of the billionaire Yanson family of Bacolod that was ousted last month in a boardroom coup from the country’s largest passenger bus firm regained control of the company’s headquarters and a key branch over the weekend.
The Inquirer learned that the camp of Leo Rey Yanson, his sister Ginnette Dumancas and the family matriarch Olivia Villafor Yanson were able to retake the sprawling compound of Vallacar Transit Inc. in Mansilingan and the key south terminal in Bacolod City.
The company’s headquarters was reclaimed with the help of the Philippine National Police, which said that the installation of a new security agency in the wake of the takeover by the rebel Yanson faction — siblings Roy, Emily, Ricardo Jr. and Celina Lopez — was illegal.
Vallacar Transit is the umbrella firm that controls several bus lines nationwide, including Ceres Liner. Altogether, the firm’s operating units have 4,000 buses and 18,000 employees, making it the biggest in the country.
In a series of messages to the Inquirer, the company’s original president, Leo Rey Yanson, said they were now in the process of “religiously auditing the entire office“ which was under the control of his rival siblings for the last four weeks.
“So far, lots of important documents are missing like Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board franchise papers, land titles, case files, and finance documents, among others,” he said. “They ransacked the entire office.”
Another source told the Inquirer that three of the four siblings from the rebel faction had originally holed themselves up in the company’s head office last Friday, but they were eventually flushed out after the authorities cut off the electricity and water supply to the compound.
“We now control all the 15 branches and the head office,” Leo Rey said. “But injunction case still in court with next hearing scheduled for Aug. 30.”
The pending court case is meant to determine whether the special board meeting called by the rebel Yanson faction last July 7 — which resulted in the temporary ousting of Leo Ray, Ginnette and their mother — was legal or not.
Ever since assuming control of the firm in 2007, 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 headcount 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 has an average net income margin of 30% of its annual multibillion peso revenues, and that 50% of the yearly earnings are distributed equally among the Yanson siblings, equivalent to hundreds of millions each.
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