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Estafa case readied vs Ceres ex-CFO

THE legal team of Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI), the country’s largest bus transport company that operates Ceres Liner and Sugbo Transit, on Tuesday announced that it is preparing a strong case against former chief finance officer who allegedly embezzled P380-million company fund.

In a statement, the legal team is now preparing the required documents to file a criminal case of “qualified theft/estafa” per Revised Penal Code against Celina Yanson-Lopez, a former chief finance officer (CFO) and one of the four Yanson siblings who attempted to take over VTI in July this year.

“Celina Yanson will have a day in court,” said the statement in connection with the P380-million unliquidated expenses incurred when Celina was the CFO of VTI, a member of the Yanson Group Bus Companies which operates more than 4,000 buses nationwide and employs 18,000 individuals with 700,000 passengers daily.

Celina is one of the four Yanson siblings who tried to unseat Leo Rey as the president of VTI and stripped their own mother, Oliva, of her own stake in the company in a purported special board meeting last July 7. Leo Rey was illegally replaced by his eldest brother Roy Yanson.

On August 19, Olivia and her two children Leo Rey and Ginnette Yanson Dumancas regained control of the company in a special stockholders meeting at the company’s main office in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

The board also re-elected Leo Rey as the president of the company, Charles Dumancas as vice president, Ginnette as treasurer and Olivia as corporate secretary.

The reorganized board also passed a resolution authorizing the company’s legal team to recommend possible legal action against Celina.
The legal team said Celina was responsible for any missing funds in the company under her watch as she had a full control of the processes, recordings and approvals of all disbursements.

It added while Celina blamed other individuals for the missing funds, she as CFO had the ultimate control over the finances of VTI.

“Celina is diverting the issue (on the missing funds). The issue against her is that there is an existing third-party independent SGV audit report that she has at least P380-million unaccounted advances/liabilities to the company. She has not rebutted this independent SGV report,” the legal team said.

“When this anomaly happened, Celina did not even call for a meeting and let her staff explain in writing why they kept on transferring funds several times for the same transaction,” the team added.

Meanwhile, Celina, through her lawyer Sheila Sison, denied all the allegations against her.
Sison said blaming Celina for the missing P380 million was not proper, adding that most of the fund were paid to suppliers as shown by bank statements.

“It is not correct to say that there were P380M unaccounted funds as they were indeed confirmed to have been paid to suppliers per the documents. What the report noted was that some of the transactions made lack supporting documents, which cannot be attributed to Celina as those supporting documents should come from the Manila purchasing office (MPO) and not the head office based on company procedure. Perhaps, the other camp should ask the former company official who oversaw that MPO for those documents,” Sison said.

The company legal team, however, said as CFO, it was Celina’s duty that whatever money she sent to the branches was properly liquidated. After finding out the anomaly, Celina did not even bother to explain why her department was funding the same, with supporting documents or bogus transactions.

“Celina even instructed the internal auditors to alter the audit report. When SGV was conducting the audit, Celina instructed the accounting department not to cooperate and participate,” the legal team added.

It said, “Until today, Celina has yet to explain where the P380-million funds went. If she is referring to the case in the Manila Branch which is being portrayed to be the pet of Olivia, the amount being referred to was only P28 million. How about the rest of the P352 million? Where did this go?”

“On the other hand, the alleged qualified theft she belatedly filed against an employee of the company is self-serving; it is a mere afterthought that has no factual foundation from a third-party independent auditor,” the team added.

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