MANILA (UCAN): On August 30, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration reaffirmed its intention to deport Australian missionary, Sister Patricia Fox, dismissing a motion for reconsideration filed by her lawyers saying it failed to raise new matters that could warrant the reversal of the expulsion order (Sunday Examiner, May 6, May 13, June 24, July 29).
Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, expressed disappointment over the latest decision, saying “it was ironic that this administration drives away a holy person while coddling drug lords.”
Bureau spokesperson, Dana Krizia Sandoval, said Sister Fox has 30 days on receipt of the order before it can be considered final and executory.
However, justice secretary, Menardo Guevarra, said in statement that the nun might not be immediately deported because the deportation order can still be subject to appeal.
He said the issue could also reach the courts should Sister Fox opt to file a petition after all administrative remedies before the executive branch are exhausted.
“Any adverse ruling from the (Justice Department or the Office of the President) may be reviewed by the courts,” Guevarra said.
The Bureau of Immigration earlier claimed Sister Fox had violated the limitations and conditions of her missionary visa. It cited photographs showing that the nun had taken part in various political activities since 2013.
In a statement, the bureau also said it had considered earlier statements by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, branding Sister Fox an undesirable alien for having joined political rallies.
“In fact, the president publicly admitted that it was upon his instructions to investigate Fox for disorderly conduct for participating in rallies,” the statement said.
In June, the Department of Justice said Sister Fox could continue to perform her duties as a missionary until her visa expired in September.
The Australian missionary, who has worked in the Philippines for 27 years, was arrested on April 16 and detained overnight before an order to leave the country was issued.
The Immigration Bureau later revoked Sister Fox’s missionary visa on April 23 for allegedly participating in partisan political activities.
Bishop Bastes said the deportation order against Sister Fox confirms that the Duterte administration is harassing its critics.
The bishop said the government considers the nun a threat because she has been defending the rights of tribal people who are being driven off their lands.