Palace: Sister Fox not yet off the hook

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 19 2018 02:01 PM

Australian nun Patricia Fox prays during a mass held for her missionary work at the Bustillos Church in Manila, April 27, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday said the administration’s bid to kick Australian nun Patricia Fox out of the country is not yet over despite the decision of the justice department nullifying the immigration bureau’s order forfeiting her missionary visa.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) merely struck down the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) order forfeiting Fox’s missionary visa as it has no power to do so, but that it still ordered the BI to hear the nun’s visa cancellation case along with her deportation case.

While Fox’s plea was granted and her visa still considered valid, the DOJ stressed that it treats the case against her as one of visa cancellation, a procedure “among those allowed by law and the [BI] rules.”

“Sister Fox is not yet off the hook. Ang napawalang bisa ng DOJ (what the DOJ invalidated) is the decision which nullified her missionary visa,” Roque said in a press briefing in Cotabato City.

“This is without prejudice to the deportation proceedings. The issue in the deportation proceedings is, did she get involved in political activities?”

Fox’s visa was forfeited by the bureau because of “her involvement in partisan political activities.” 

The BI cited her participation in rallies, press conferences, and fact-finding missions which are “not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa.”

President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly criticized Fox, who he said has no right to “insult” the Philippine government as a foreigner staying in the country. 

“You come here and insult us, you trample with our sovereignty. That will never happen,” said Duterte at an event in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last April 18.

Fox has been fighting to stay in the Philippines, asserting that she has not broken any rule.