Philippines orders Australian nun Patricia Fox to leave

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Forfeiting her missionary visa, the Philippines on Wednesday, April 25, said it ordered Australian nun Patricia Fox to leave the country because she supposedly engaged in "partisan political activities."

The board of commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) issued its one-page order on Fox on Monday, April 23. 

Fox's missionary visa, due to expire on September 5, is now deemed forfeited. Her alien certificate of registration is also set to be deactivated. 

"She was found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa," said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Morente explained that Fox's visa "granted her only the privilege to engage in missionary work and not in political activities."

"We direct Fox to leave the Philippines within 30 days from receipt of this order," said the BI board of commissioners.

BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang, however, said Fox "may still enter and leave the country as a tourist." 

Duterte's order

Mangrobang said Fox's deportation case is still pending with the BI special prosecutor, "as she has yet to file her counter-affidavit." 

After the BI hears the parties involved, Fox's case will be submitted to the BI board of commissioners for deliberation "on whether or not she will be deported and barred from entering the country in the future."

The BI detained Fox on April 16 after arresting her at her religious congregation's Quezon City mission house. She was released nearly 24 hours later.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier admitted ordering the BI to investigate Fox because of "disorderly conduct." Duterte said Fox's supposed remarks against the government constitute a "violation of sovereignty."

In a statement on Wednesday, youth group Anakbayan denounced the Duterte administration, calling it a "tyrannical, power-hungry" regime.

"Sister Pat's pending deportation has nothing to do with national sovereignty especially when Duterte himself calls Chinese imperialists militarizing the West Philippine Sea his best friend. This has everything to do with the thug-life rule of a tyrant who cannot stomach any form of criticism," said Anakbayan national secretary general Einstein Recedes.

"A 71-year-old missionary nun who has been helping farmers in the country including those in Hacienda Luisita and victims of the Kidapawan massacre is no threat to the country. It is Duterte himself who has been constantly trampling the law by bombing Lumad schools, [allowing the] killing of thousands without due process, and going after government critics."

While Fox was detained, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo said authorities questioned her "illegal" activities. Fox was shown pictures of her visits to political prisoners in Compostela Valley, and to the picket of Coca-Cola workers in Davao City. 

Ocampo noted that he was with Fox in a fact-finding mission in Mindanao from April 6 to 9, where they investigated the killings of farmers in Caraga, northern Mindanao, and southern Mindanao, on top of other issues.

Ocampo said they recorded "more than 187 farmers killed under the Duterte government." – Rappler.com