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Fox files petition for review of deportation order

/ 07:24 PM September 03, 2018
Sister Patricia Fox

Sister Patricia Fox holds the petition for review she filed at the Department of Justice to reverse Immigration bureau’s deportation order. PHOTO by Tetch Torres-Tupas, INQUIRER.net

Australian missionary Patricia Fox said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has ordered her deportation because of instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte, citing the ‘alter ego principle.’

Fox, in her 39-page petition for review, said the BI’s decision to follow the President’s order violated her constitutional rights.

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READ: Patricia Fox petition for review September 3_20180903141021

“With due respect to the BI, such statement is misguided and erroneous. To sanction that argument would be to state that decisions should be based on the public pronouncements of the President irrespective of the merits of the case and the arguments of the parties,” Fox’ petition read.

The same petition stated that ordering her deportation simply because the BI is following the position of the President also “violated the cardinal principle of administrative due process.

READ: Duterte says he ordered Australian nun’s probe for ‘disorderly conduct’

Fox said that while she was allowed to file her response to counter the allegations against her, it appeared that it was merely formal compliance since the BI has already made a predetermination of the case following Duterte’s pronouncement.

She added that the BI even failed to resolve the issue of whether the activities she allegedly committed are violative of the conditions of her missionary visa or if it’s a valid exercise of her right to free speech and peaceful assembly guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution.

“The basis of the order is purely speculative as it is merely based on the unsubstantiated report of a certain intelligence agent Melody Penelope Gonzalez,” the 71-year-old missionary said, referring to the alleged partisan political activities she committed while in the country that the BI cited in its deportation order.

She said the intelligence report was based on hearsay information and sloppy intelligence work done by mere social media stalking which should not be considered as evidence.

Fox pointed out that she is also entitled to the same constitutional guarantees of free expression and peaceful assembly granted to Filipinos unless there is a clear and present danger to bar it.

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She stressed that this was further bolstered by international law as well as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“When the petitioner joins rallies and fact-finding missions and similar activities, she is not violating the law. She is merely exercising her right, and she can do so whether the same is part of her missionary work or not since such right is guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. She is afforded the same protection as Filipino citizens,” she said.

She added that to restrict her right under such flimsy and unconstitutional grounds is like sanctioning the State’s use of draconian measures to suppress dissent and criticism.

Fox added that the activities where she participated are consistent with her Sister of Our Lady of Sion’s congregation’s charism and mission by which her missionary visa was granted when she first arrived in the country in 1990.

“After understanding our congregation’s charism and missions, I can definitely say that I did not participate in any political or partisan activity,” she insisted.

Earlier, BI spokesperson Krizia Dana Sandoval said Fox is given 30 days upon receipt of the order “before it can be considered final and executory.”

But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that from the BI, Fox has other recourse including a petition for review either before the DOJ or the Office of the President and then the courts — Court of Appeals and eventually the Supreme Court.

Fox said she has been in the Philippines for 27 years and it was only now that she was cited for violating any regulation or for giving solidarity messages and holding banners.

She said the attention she has been receiving from the government creates a “chilling message I think to missionaries.”

With the filing of her petition for review, the deportation will be put on hold. /ee

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