MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Tuesday, June 19, that Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox could still face deportation even after the Department of Justice reversed the forfeiture of her visa.
"Sister Fox is not yet off the hook. The DOJ voided the decision of the [Bureau of Immigration], which nullified her missionary visa...but there are ongoing deportation proceedings," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Cotabato.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in his decision favoring Fox, said as much. While the Bureau of Immigration cannot withdraw the visa given to Fox, it can cancel it. Guevarra ordered the bureau to determine if her visa can be cancelled.
The Palace spokesman also said during the news coneference that Fox can still be deported if deportation proceedings conclude she indeed engaged in political activities, a violation of BI regulations.
"It's clear in Justice Secretary Guevarra's decision that this is without prejudice to the deportation proceedings. The decision to be made in those proceedings is, did Sister Fox engage in politics?" said Roque.
President Rodrigo Duterte had previously earlier accused Fox of violating Philippine sovereignty by criticizing his administration at rallies. He had also admitted that he ordered the BI to investigate her.
Fox has maintained that the Philippine constitutional guarantees to freedom of speech and assembly also apply to her as a foreigner.
She also insisted that photos of her purportedly at protests cannot be considered sufficient evidence to forfeit her visa. (READ: Sister Patricia Fox hits BI's definition of 'missionary work') – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.