The Apology Act

2008-02-1320apology20compensation20aborigines20rudd20226233In our highly individualistic and litigious society where people have the tendency to sue left and right for being allegedly injured whether unintentionally or maliciously, the Ontario government had followed what other provinces and some countries have done to trim down the number of personal injury lawsuits – legislate the Apology Act.

In a nutshell, the Apology Act allows a person to say sorry to the aggrieved party without fear of “ it being used as evidence of liability in a civil legal proceeding under provincial law”. It other words, expressing an apology doesn’t translate to admission of guilt. An apology tends to mend the heart of the aggrieved and the government hopes that this new law would reduce the incidence of personal injury lawsuits. I’m not so sure how lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases would feel about this but it certainly does look like it might induce their lucrative trade into a permanent recession.

I remember the much publicized case of the Valley Golf Club mauling where Sec. Pangandaman publicly apologized for the incident, where two of his sons got involved. Many people mistook his expression of regret as a confession of guilt. Under the Apology Act such statements cannot be used as evidence of liability on the part of the Pangandamans. It does however promote some sense of conciliation and restoration of civility.



images1The recently much publicized case of Nicole, the Pinay who recanted her rape statement years after her rapist, an American sailor languished in jail, startled many observers with the incredulous twist to the story. It was learned that she was allegedly handed P100K and an immigrant visa to the U.S. in exchange for the exoneration of the American. As expected, conspiracy theories emerged, the most obvious of them was it was overall a ploy of the American government to repatriate its jailed citizen, at the expense of the mockery of the Phil. justice system. I’m not here to argue about the whys and the wherefores of this case because it has been beaten black and blue in the papers and cyberspace. I am here to say that I am rather surprised at the degree of unanimity of Pinoy commenters who believe that Nicole’s act of selling her soul to the devil, of putting a price tag on her dignity and moral value was justified to extricate herself from poverty. This kind of reasoning seem to pervade people’s minds nowadays that somehow it is justified to rob, steal, kill, sell your body so you can put food on the table for the family. It is a disconcerting feeling really because on one angle the country is on its high road to moral bankruptcy and what is even more frightening is the harrowing thought of the haves who continue to impoverish the have nots so they can exploit them down to their bare souls. When poverty becomes an acceptable excuse for indignity, it is a tell tale sign of an impending collapse of such a society.

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