MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to overturn the ruling of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to withdraw the visa of Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox, allowing her to stay in the country for now.
The CHR also emphasized the need for better protocol to ensure that human rights of all are respected at all times.
“Moving forward, we are hopeful that proper procedures and protocols will be observed at all times to ensure rule of law. In this manner, we can guarantee and respect the fundamental rights and inherent dignity of everyone in our country regardless of race, citizenship, gender, among others,” the commission said in a statement.
The CHR said it agreed with the position of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who stressed that a legal basis is needed to withdraw a visa already granted to a foreigner.
“The resolution affirms the basic right to due process of everyone residing in the Philippines -- whether Filipino or foreigner. Sister Patricia can now properly defend herself and the humanitarian work/service she did for the poor and disadvantaged communities, which she considers part of her mission,” the CHR said.
The DOJ had reversed the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) order forfeiting 71-year-old Fox’s missionary visa as it has no power to do so. It also ordered the BI to proceed with the nun’s visa cancellation case along with her deportation case.
On Tuesday, Malacañang said Fox, who the BI had said violated the terms of her stay here by participating in "political" activities, was "not yet off the hook" as the DOJ ordered the immigration office to hear her visa cancellation and deportation cases.