Sister Fox’s visa a privilege, not a right – BI
There was no need for the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to hear Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox’s side when the visa forfeiture proceedings against the missionary were conducted.
This was the explanation of the BI as its spokesperson, lawyer Antonette Mangrobang, asserted that it was the discretion of the bureau whether or not it would forfeit a foreigner’s visa, adding that the issuance of visas was merely a privilege for foreigners.
“The issuance and grant of a visa is a privilege, not a right, hence a hearing is not necessary in visa forfeiture proceedings,” Mangrobang said in a text message. “The foreigner may file his or her motion for reconsideration.”
Due process for foreigners
Mangrobang was reacting to the statement of Fox’s counsel, lawyer Jobert Pahilga, who said in a television interview that there should have been a hearing first before the bureau decided to forfeit the 71-year old nun’s missionary visa.
In an interview with ANC, Pahilga said that Fox has the right to due process of law, and the right to dispute allegations that she has been involved in partisan politics even if she is a foreigner.
“What we expected was that we will be allowed to submit a counter-affidavit and there will be a hearing because Sister Fox has the right to due process of law, she has the right to refute the allegations of the bureau’s Intelligence Divisions,” Pahilga pointed out.
The BI, through a three-member board of commissioners, issued on Monday an order to forfeit Fox’s missionary visa after “she was found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa.”
BI chief Jaime Morente explained that Fox’s missionary visa permits “only the privilege to engage in missionary work and not in political activities.”
Morente chairs the three-man BI Board of Commissioners with BI Associate Commissioners J. Tobias Javier and Aimee Torrefranca-Neri as members.
Fox’s camp has repeatedly denied all allegations, insisting that the Australian nun is a missionary involved in human rights and farmers’ welfare initiatives. /kga
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