Supreme Court Suspends Lawyer in Yanson Family Feud for Gross Misconduct

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Lawyer Jun Maxwell Orlina has been suspended by the Supreme Court (SC) for gross misconduct in the midst of the Yanson family feud in Bacolod City. The decision, signed by SC Deputy Division Clerk of Court Maria Teresa Sibulo, was issued on August 9, 2023, but only posted on the SC website on December 18, 2023.

Orlina, who represents the Yanson 2 or Y2 faction consisting of siblings Leo Ray and Ginnette Yanson Dumancas, has been barred from practicing law for one year. The legal battle stems from their mother, Olivia Villaflores Yanson, securing a legal approval for the probate of her will, which designates only Leo Ray and Ginnette as the rightful heirs of the family business.

The Yanson Group, the owner of one of Asia’s largest bus fleets with nearly 5,000 units, has been embroiled in a dispute since the passing of their patriarch, Ricardo Yanson, in 2015. The family has been fighting for control of the company, leading to a heated conflict.

The Bacolod City Regional Trial Court Branch 44 ruled in favor of Olivia’s will, affirming her sound mental capacity when she executed it and dismissing claims of undue influence by her disinherited children, known as the Yanson 4 or Y4. This ruling solidified Leo Ray and Ginnette’s claim to the family business empire.

The SC’s decision to suspend Orlina was based on a 2019 complaint by Roy and Emily Yanson, accusing the lawyer of falsely certifying a quorum in a special stockholders’ meeting. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) conducted an investigation and issued a resolution suspending Orlina from practicing law and providing notarial services for one year.

The IBP-CBD found that Orlina had purposely made false statements and certified the existence of a quorum in the special stockholders’ meeting called by his clients. However, the SC concluded that Orlina’s participation in the illegal acts amounted to gross misconduct and violated the lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability. The SC warned that further violations would result in stricter consequences.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court has suspended lawyer Jun Maxwell Orlina from the practice of law for one year due to gross misconduct in the Yanson family feud. This decision comes after the Bacolod City Regional Trial Court affirmed the validity of Olivia Villaflores Yanson’s will, designating only two of her children as rightful heirs to the family business empire. The legal battle and power struggle within the Yanson Group, one of Asia’s largest bus fleets, continue to escalate.