Australian nun to appeal deportation order in Philippines

Manila: Australian nun Patricia Fox announced on Friday that she would appeal against a deportation order issued against her by the Philippines government a day earlier over allegations of involvement in political activities against the country’s President.

Fox’s lawyer Sol Taule said that the appeal would be filed on Monday and added that the order issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) set a bad precedent, Efe news reported.

“We’re seeing the start of this trend under President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s government, to deport anyone who is doing good. What is wrong with standing for human rights?” Taule said at a press conference.

The BI said on Thursday that Fox, 71, violated the conditions of her missionary visa by taking part in political activities, according to the expulsion order posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

The immigration officials said that allowing Fox to participate in political activities “would open the floodgates for other aliens unbridled right to criticize government by joining rallies to the detriment of public peace and order”.

Fox is the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion and has been working as a missionary in the Philippines for the last 27 years. She was arrested on April 15 for participating in a protest against the government.

The nun has openly criticized the violent anti-drug campaign launched by Duterte which has left thousands of people dead in police operation. Ten days after Fox’s arrest, the BI withdrew her visa and gave her one month to leave the country.

She appealed against the order and the Department of Justice upheld the challenge on June 18 and allowed her to remain in the country temporarily.

Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the confiscation of Fox’s visa did not have a legal basis but warned that a deportation process was in progress.