Sister Patricia Fox defiant, refuses to leave PH
Embattled Sister Patricia Fox will not be leaving the Philippines anytime soon.
Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, counsel for the 71-year old nun, said that they would exhaust all available legal remedies against the forfeiture of her missionary visa by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) as well as its expulsion order.
“For the said order, if not challenged, will have far-reaching implications to other missionaries similarly situated with Sister Pat as the BI can now rule and decide what activity is considered political or not,” Pahilga said in a statement.
Despite the BI’s threat to file another deportation case, the Australian missionary would still file a petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ), her lawyer said.
“Sister Pat thus expects and hopes that the BI will abide by its rules of procedure, not arrest or forcibly deport her, give her the opportunity to appeal it to the DOJ and let the latter decide on her appeal,” Pahilga said.
Pahilga insisted that Fox, a foreigner, still had the right to freedom of expression.
“She reiterates that what she did – participating in gatherings or assemblies of farmers, indigenous peoples who demand that their rights to land and resources be respected; or workers in their demand for humane and just wages, security of tenure, and humane conditions of work, and the like – is an exercise of that right, and are not political activities but simply to help promote and protect the rights of the poor and the needy,” Pahilga stressed.
“They are consistent and in accordance with the her mission and the charism of the Sister of our Lady of Sion to promote peace, social justice, and human rights,” he also said.
Likewise, Pahilga said that Fox “expects that the BI would also follow the rule of law and its own rules of procedure.”
“Sister Pat has the right to be accorded due process and equal protection of the law,” he said.
But even if Fox should file an appeal before the DOJ, this would not stop the BI from enforcing the leave order, according to BI spokeswoman Dana Sandoval.
“The order states that deportation proceedings will be initiated if she stays,” Sandoval said in a phone interview.
Should the BI decide implement the deportation order, Fox would be included in the bureau’s blacklist. /atm
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