Original management tightens grip on Ceres
A Negros court has foiled the attempt of a breakaway faction of the billionaire Yanson family to invalidate corporate actions that led to the original management retaking control of the country’s largest bus transport firm following a boardroom coup attempt in July.
In a Sept. 24 resolution, Judge Phoebe Gargantiel-Balbin of the Bacolod City Regional Trial Court’s Branch 45, junked a petition filed by the so-called Yanson Four—Roy, Emily, Celina and Ricardo Jr.—against their youngest sibling and longtime president Leo Rey Yanson for forum shopping.
“The rule is clear that forum shopping is a ground for dismissal of a case,” said the judge, who explained the complainants’ petition was already the subject of a separate court proceeding that they lost.
“[This] squarely falls under the definition of forum shopping, which exists when, as a result of an adverse judgment in one forum, a party seeks another and possibly favorable judgment in another forum rather than appeal or special civil action for certiorari,” she said.
In August, the group filed a petition for injunction against Leo Rey to invalidate his call for a special stockholders’ meeting that 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 performing as the president of the Vallacar Transit Inc. under the Yanson Group of Bus Companies.
“The determination of all corporate concerns between the parties could be best resolved with finality and without conflicting judgment if lodged in one court alone,” Gargantiel-Balbin said.
“With these findings, this court will not anymore discuss the other ground of splitting a single cause of action cited by defendant (Leo Rey) in his opposition,” she added.
From a 14-seater 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 evolved into a multibillion-peso enterprise with 18,000 employees and 4,800 buses operating nationwide.
Ricardo Sr., who passed away 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.
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