The Bureau of Immigration (BI) denied the appeal of Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox to remain in the Philippines due to allegations that she was engaged in partisan political activities.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed this on Wednesday, August 29. However, Fox’s camp filed an appeal on Friday, August 31 to allow her continued stay in the country and asked the DOJ to reverse the deportation order.
Guevarra also advised them to push complaints to the courts should there be any unfavorable decisions from the DOJ or OP.
“Any adverse ruling of the DOJ or OP may further be reviewed by the courts,” Guevarra stated.
Fox filed the motion for reconsideration on the BI’s Board of Commissioner’s (BOC)’s ruling last July. The decision ordered her deportation to Australia, as well as her inclusion in the country’s blacklist – barring her from ever returning to the Philippines.
The BI explained that the nun was in violation of the limitations and conditions of Commonwealth Act 613 otherwise known as The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, specifically Section 9 that covers provisions for non-immigrants with pre-arranged employment.
The decision also mentioned Act No. 2711 or the Administrative Code Section 69 that discusses the deportation of subject to the foreign power.
In the said act, “a subject of a foreign power residing in the Philippines shall not be deported, expelled, or excluded from said islands or repatriated to his own country by the President of the Philippines except upon prior investigation, conducted by said Executive or his authorized agent, of the ground upon which such action is contemplated.”
The provision also noted that the person involved should be “informed of the charge or charges against him and he shall be allowed not less than these days for the preparation of his defense. He shall also have the right to be heard by himself or counsel, to produce witnesses in his own behalf, and to cross-examine the opposing witnesses.”
The BI backed their accusations with photographs showing the 71-year-old missionary participating in rallies demanding for the release of political prisoners, land distribution in Hacienda Luisita and labor rights in years 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Remarks from President Rodrigo Duterte were also deemed valuable in the said case against the missionary. The leader claimed that Fox exercised disorderly conduct by participating in rallies, therefore subjecting her to deportation.
The nun’s legal counsel argued that Fox’s fight for human rights was all part of her missionary work. They clearly noted that none of those assemblies were anti-government.
“Mahal ko ang Pilipinas. Ayoko umalis na ganito ang kalagayan. Walang mali o masama sa pagtanggol ng karapatang pantao. Basic ito sa international law. Gusto ko din matapos ng maayos ang kaso para mapatunayan na wala ako masamang ginagawa (I love the Philippines. I don’t want to leave this way. There is nothing wrong in fighting for human rights. This is basic in international law. I want to have this case closed properly so I could prove that I have not done anything wrong),” said Fox at a news briefing in Quezon City on Friday.