TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Ten days after the burglars ransacked the safety deposit boxes (SDBs) of EastWest Bank Tuguegarao branch, victims who lost millions were told the bank has no liabilities to them.
In a letter to the victims, branch manager Rommel Tumbali apologized to the victims, but said the bank is not liable for their loss.
Police earlier said the robbery was foiled, meaning nothing was stolen during the robbery on midnight of May 6.
However, at least three victims have claimed they have lost millions worth of jewelry, luxury watches, gold coins, and other valuables from the robbery. The victims added there are 7 more victims.
In his letter, Tumbali said the robbery was an “unforeseen” event “independent” of the will of EastWest bank.
“The burglars were able to carry out their criminal acts notwithstanding bank’s exercise of reasonable care and prudence,” Tumbali said.
With this, the agreement between the bank and the SDB lessees stands, he said.
Under the agreement, “the liability of the bank is limited to the exercise of ordinary care in the custody of the box, but shall not be liable for any loss due to fire, flood, earthquake, theft, burglary, robbery, embezzlement, other force majeure and fortuitous event, contributory negligence by renter, his agents/and or representative or any other cause, except failure to exercise such care.”
The manager also encouraged the victims to report to authorities any loss of transfer certificate of titles, car registration, and other important documents to prevent robbers from disposing it.
The bank’s response, however, did not sit well to the victims, who earlier suspected the bank robbery was an inside job.
The letters, according to them, were “informal” and “insincere” since it did not even contain the letterhead of the bank, or any signature from the bank’s legal team.
With this, at least three of the victims said they will contest against the bank’s response.
A victim, who lost more than P8-million worth of jewelry, said she requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for reinvestigation as she believes that the bank “has neglected them” in protecting their deposit boxes.
“One hundred percent pagbababaya nila, sobra. Kasi dito wala silang guard, alam mong malaking company itong Eastwest Bank, bakit walang guard,” the victim, who requested not to be identified, said.
She added that she won’t take sorry for an answer from the bank.
One victim, who also requested for anonymity for his protection, said he was not read of the rules and regulations nor did he sign it.
He said they would not deposit in the bank should he had known that the bank has no liabilities if case of robbery.
He also called out the manager for sending them “insincere” letters.
“The reason you get a safety deposit box it’s because of the word “safety” and the bank should above and beyond protection, and protection their clients and protecting the bank and clients’ interest. I felt that they’ve failed us,” he said.
‘Poor security system’
Nearly 9 years ago, police were able to foil a robbery at a bank adjacent to EastWest bank in this city’s College Avenue. Authorities said the robbers also used the tunnel to dig a hole through the bank.
Now, another victim, who also requested for anonymity, is questioning what actions could the bank had done to prevent a robbery such as what happened to its neighbour bank.
“I will question that normal care kasi unang-una, paano nabutasan ‘yung loob mismo ng vault, e nagkaroon na ng incident na ganyan sa BPI before, e what measure of control did they hexercised to prevent that from happening in your bank,” the victim said.
Somehow, the suspects also used the drainage system underneath to rob EastWest bank. – Northernforum.net