MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque claimed on Friday, April 20, that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) was wrong in asserting that Sister Patricia Fox never spoke at any rallies in the country.
To prove this, he even showed Malacañang reporters a photo, supposedly of Fox, holding a microphone during a rally organized by Kilusang Mayo Uno and Gabriela in Davao City.
"Pinabubulaanan ko lang, ng gobyerno, iyong sinabi ng CBCP na ni minsan hindi nagsalita sa rally itong si Sister Fox. Eh kailan lang pala nagsasalita oh. This is April 9, this year," said Roque, while the photo was flashed on a screen.
(I am, the government is just disputing what the CBCP said that not once did Sister Fox speak at a rally. She spoke only recently. This is April 9, this year.)
However, the CBCP never made such a claim. It was Anakpawis Partylist Representative Ariel Casilao who made the claim during a Thursday press conference.
"Never in any of the 27 years na si Sister Fox ay naging speaker sa anumang rally (was a speaker at any rally)," said Casilao, as quoted by the Inquirer.
In the CBCP, it is the CBCP president who signs official statements on behalf of all bishops in the country. The CBCP president, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, has issued only one statement about Fox.
Individual bishops have granted interviews about Fox, but their remarks cannot be considered CBCP statements.
Below is the only statement the CBCP has released on Fox:
ON THE RECENT DETENTION OF SR PATRICIA FOX, NDS
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is very much concerned with what happened recently to a Catholic Missionary sister, Sr Patricia Fox of Notre Dame de Sion (NDS) Congregation – that she was taken into custody and detained by the Bureau of Immigration. She is now released.
I have requested our Secretary General of the CBCP to get more information from the Sister’s community in Quezon City, from the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) and from the Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations Between Bishops and Religious (ECMR). All of the information I now have about the incident is from the newspapers.
I presume and hope she was treated well, that there was nothing irregular about the procedure done in her detention, and that her rights under our laws are respected.
We will continue to pray for her, as I am sure, we did as soon as we heard of the news.
The CBCP would like to assure Sister Patricia Fox and her community that the CBCP is willing to extend any assistance and support we are able to give her and her community with regards to the situation.
From the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, 19 April 2018
+ ROMULO G. VALLES, DD
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines