Documents in the missing P380M–2

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

IT APPEARS unusual that a president of a company can be given so much power to dispense funds without having to explain the expenditures. No matter how liberal and generous the board is the most important fact is that there must be a record of every disbursement. Intelligence funds or money to pay off a crime may not be legally recorded but there is still an accounting of it in a blind item.

Anyway, another revelation in that Daily Guardian headline of July 13-14, is Leo Rey’s statement that some cash withdrawals went to his “personal accounts”. Leo Rey explained that only the P8.5 million was disbursed as “miscellaneous expenses”.

This is practically a confession, an admission that he took money for himself. The question is: did he leave records of it or were they blind items in the books? That information, we will probably find in other documents at hand.

Nothing in that Daily Guardian report that appears to be an interview of Leo Rey has been denied to this day. We take it then as the position of Leo Rey in this family feud and his explanation to his siblings that ousted him.

How much went to his personal accounts? He did not say, but he did admit he withdrew funds that went to his personal accounts. Was that the reason Celina Yanson “accused him of malversing VTI funds”? It seems so.

While he cited the memorandum of December 2017 as a defense, that fell short because that memorandum covers only “miscellaneous expenses” and withdrawing funds from the company and depositing them in one’s personal account is clearly not covered.

Unless, of course, he considered his personal accounts as part of miscellaneous expenses. But if he did, his siblings did not agree.

I have yet to know of a company president taking out money from the corporate treasury and depositing it into his or her personal account to be legal and without need of authorization or explanation.

Leo Rey had another defense. He said, “I was only exercising the power that has been exercised ever since our father RBY (the late Ricardo B. Yanson, Sr.) was the president, no more no less.”

Fine, but that was RBY and not LRY. The elder Yanson could have managed the company he founded and nurtured for years and acted in a patriarchal manner. It was his personal property that he can dispose of in a manner he wished.

But Leo Rey is not the new patriarch or was he granted absolute say in the disbursement of company funds and not be responsible or accountable to anybody, including his family. The fact that his siblings ousted him tells us that his power as company president had limitations and that he went out of bounds.

Leo Rey defended himself saying that his “action is also in consonance with what has been provided by law since presidents practice general supervision and control over corporate day-to-day operation.” True, but did he perform his duties with such power or control which was intended by law and norm of business management to ensure that nothing is amiss in the company, like losing track of millions in a year’s time?

I can understand the action of the siblings of stripping him of that legal authority because he apparently did not exercise control of the daily operation of the corporation, the neglect that led to the “missing” P380 million. Or less, if we deduct the P27 million charged to Rowena Sarona and P8.5 million that he admitted was disposed for the welfare of the employees.

So, we are left with over P344.5 million unaccounted funds. How much did Leo Rey withdraw and place in his personal accounts? He will not say, understandably. Is it possible that in the board meeting that removed him from office, he was confronted with that mess and maybe could not tell where the rest went? He may not even know where, thus the move for the SGV audit which surely tells a good story.

We are not privy to what transpired in that probably acrimonious meeting and we cannot expect the siblings to reveal what should be kept in the confines of that board room and among them. But the questions linger and whet the public’s appetite.

What do the documents say? We’ll tackle that on Monday.