Yanson feud: Original management tightens grip on bus empire after Bacolod court ruling
A Bacolod City court has foiled a bid by a breakaway faction of the billionaire Yanson family to invalidate corporate actions that led to the original management regaining control of the country’s largest bus firm after a boardroom coup attempt last July.
In a Sept. 24 resolution, Judge Phoebe Gargantiel-Balbin of the Bacolod City Regional Trial Court’s Branch 45, junked as forum shopping a petition filed by the so-called Yanson Four — Roy, Emily, Celina and Ricardo Jr. — against their youngest sibling and long-time president Leo Rey Yanson.
“The rule is clear that forum shopping is a ground for dismissal of a case,” said the judge who explained that the complainants’ petition was already the subject of a separate court proceeding which they lost.
The Yanson Four’s petition “squarely falls under the definition of forum shopping,” said Judge Balbin.
Last August, the group filed a petition for injunction against Leo Rey to invalidate his call for a special stockholders’ meeting which resulted in, among others, a board reorganization after the original controlling shareholders reassumed control of the firm.
Branch 53 Judge Eduardo Sayson earlier dismissed the petition for a 72-hour temporary restraining order filed by the Yanson Four against Leo Rey to stop him from taking his post as president of Vallacar Transit Inc. under the Yanson Group of Bus Companies.
According to Balbin, the legal battle between the Yanson Four and Leo Rey “could be best resolved with finality and without conflicting judgment if lodged in one court alone.”
“This is the purpose of the rule against forum shopping,” said Balbin.
From a 14-seat jeepney plying only a single route, the late Yanson patriach, Ricardo Sr., and his wife, Olivia, founded the parent company, Ceres Bus Lines, that eventually morphed into a multibillion-peso enterprise with 18,000 employees and 4,800 buses operating nationwide.
Ricardo Sr., who died in 2015, left the multibillion-peso transportation empire to his youngest son, Leo Rey, who — to resolve the recent dispute — offered to have control of the bus firm decided by a coin toss, which his rival siblings rejected./TSB
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