Patricia Fox lives to fight another day


On Monday, the Philippine justice secretary revoked an immigration expulsion order for an Australian nun who had irked the president by joining political rallies but who said she still faces possible deportation.

“What the (immigration service) did, in this case, is beyond what the law provides, that is why it has to be struck down,” said a statement from Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who oversees immigration matters.

It added that Sister Fox “may continue to perform her duties as a missionary” until her visa expires in September or “until a final resolution” in her deportation proceedings is reached.

A spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte said the 71-year-old nun is “not yet off the hook” and still has to face the deportation case.

Harry Roque said the Justice Department upheld the validity of Fox’s visa only “without prejudice to the deportation proceedings.”

“The issue in the deportation proceedings is, was she involved in political activities?” said Roque.

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon commented: “What Duterte wants, Duterte gets by hook or by crook.”

Sister Elenita Belardo, national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, said the ruling “gives hope to the poor who [Fox] vows to serve with her life.”

Fox, who has been living in the Philippines since 1990, attracted Duterte’s wrath after joining a fact-finding mission in April to investigate alleged abuses against farmers – including killings and evictions by soldiers fighting guerrillas in the southern Philippines.

Before Monday’s decision was released, Fox said she would fight moves to deport her.

“It’s more of looking at getting due process for myself (and) this happening to others,” she told ABS-CBN television.

“I’m thinking if there’s no due process when I am high profile, how much more in the provinces where people are being arrested?”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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