Can You Recover Your Losses If Robber Got Caught?

This is the big question in the robbery case that I told you yesterday.  As retold, one of the robbers in the bolt-cutting incident was caught by our local police, who in an attempt to catch the other robbers conducted follow-up operations but yielded negative results.

Let me continue first with what transpired at the police station right after the robber they caught was brought there. The Barangay Tanods and I were made to execute testimonies as to what happened during the robbery. All the while, the police operatives were trying to extract information from the robber and they asked me to lend them a few more computer units to be used on a buy-bust operation with the caught robber as the seller to the syndicated buyers. All these happened at around 3 to 5AM of the day following the robbery.

The follow-up operations yielded negative results so what were the chances of recovering our losses to the robbers? Can we recover our losses soon enough for us to be able to operate our café immediately? I am sorry to say that as succeeding events unfold, recovery is quite far from our expectation. We may not even be able to recover anything at all.

The suspect (that’s how we call the robber even if he was caught in the act) was arraigned in the prosecutor’s office in the first working day after the incident. That was the last time I saw him in person. He was out of police custody in due time after paying a P200,000 bail for the robbery-in-band case filed against him.

I received a sub-poena to attend the pre-trial after around three (3) months or around July of 2007. The suspect and his lawyer did not appear on the pre-trial. Another hearing was set after three (3) more months and they again did not appear. The bail bond was cancelled and a warrant of arrest was issued against the suspect while a contempt charge was issued to his lawyer who was asked to pay P2,000 penalty for not appearing during the hearings.

From then on up to now, the hearing of the case is scheduled every three (3) months but it is only me as complainant appear during those hearings. So again, do I look forward to recover the losses we had on the robbery? Yes, I do but that will only happen when the judge decides that the suspect is guilty and awards an amount equivalent to our losses. As to when will this happen, nobody knows.

Even if we are granted some amounts for the damages that our business incurred, we still have to recon with the appeals that the suspect’s lawyer will file. If we are lucky and the suspect gets caught again because of the warrant of arrest issued against him and final decision is arrived, we hope he will have the money to pay us for our losses. In situations like where we are now, is it not wiser that we should have insured our business against robbery and burglary?

I should say again, not even the most sophisticated surveillance system can help you recover your investment if the robbers got to haul your computers. If you are lucky enough to have them caught by the police using the data in your surveillance system, you still have to go through our justice system and hope that in the end, you get paid for your losses. Such will not happen in the case of a properly insured café business.

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