Yanson Family Constitution-2

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

HISTORIANS have a cliché, “if it was not written it never existed”. In the case of the Yanson Family Constitution, the values, beliefs and philosophies, both for the family and their businesses were written and signed, but events now question the existence of these core values in some members of the Ricardo Yanson family broiled in this controversy.

Of course, the fault of one or two is not the fault of all. Who violated these core family and business values? The flow of information dished out to the public can provide us with a good basis to make conclusions on who the transgressors are. It is not the intention of this column to lay blame and in fact, I repeat the invitation for opposing views.

On the other hand, family members know what they had done. They know whether they have violated the family constitution they signed to tell or at least to indicate to their father at that time that they would abide by his will.

By their actions you may know them is another cliché that, placed in relation to the issues of the Yanson family, will educate us. This is shown by how each member of the family acted publicly within these agreed-upon values.

These past months – now going to a year – the public had been regaled or entertained, by the barrage of information, accusations and recriminations, as to who is at fault and for what. The family constitution can provide us with the bases to make that conclusion.

The Yanson Family Constitution is long and covers a lot of concerns. It has twenty articles, a message from the founder, Ricardo Yanson and definition of terms to ensure that the provisions are clear. Very important in this clarification of terms is that the family members are specifically identified and limited to direct legal descendants. As of this date, the legal descendants go down to the grandchildren of Ricardo and Olivia Yanson.

Considering the information that family members held a series of sessions and that all are well-educated we can say that they know every article of their family constitution. The provisions are not only binding to them but to their direct descendants as well. In-laws are excluded.

The aspirations and purposes are clear. There are “motherhood declarations” but they are commonly understood though often ignored. Still, they are firmly followed by a person of good faith and who trusts in the goodness of others.

The message of Ricardo Yanson is encompassing but let me just take a portion of his message as it applies to the issues now tearing the family apart.

“What will keep us together is the understanding that the ideals that unite us are far more important than the details that sometimes divide us. We must never be distracted and divided by our own adversary – our attitude – and the way we perceive things in a not so practical way. But, together, we will demonstrate the power of unity and harmony.

“Our greatest glory is to rise every time we fall short of our decision and learn the lessons of the past.

“This is our legacy. We do not settle for anything less.”

Great and noble words no one can quarrel about but sadly perhaps some members of the Yanson family should reread this portion of their patriarch’s last will and “learn the lessons” of what the events during the past months have inflicted on their family and in themselves. Indeed, the third generation that had not signed the family constitutions are already taught to ignore the constitution by the members who ought to, as Philippine presidents declare under oath, “protect and defend” it.

It took only eight years from its adoption and four years after Ricardo’s death for the family constitution to be emasculated by some of its guardians.

The closing lines of Ricardo’s message are a challenge although related to their business and not to his family. He said, “We must relentlessly strive to be the best in every aspect…by fostering teamwork, trust and commitment with the help of Almighty Father.”

Our readers, drawing from the events that had occurred since late last year, can make their assessment as to whether the aspirations and ideals of Ricardo after his demise had been followed.

We will discuss other relevant provisions of the Yanson Family Constitution starting tomorrow.