An Australian nun, who was living in the Philippines, was ordered to be deported by the country’s immigration bureau because she angered President Rodrigo Duterte by joining allies against his government.
According to the state-run Philippine New Agency (PNA), along with the deportation order, 71-year-old Sister Patricia Anne Fox was blacklisted which means she can’t re-enter the country again.
The nun, who fought to stay in the country for more than three months, is accused of rallying for anti-government prisoners and fighting for their release. She was charged with violating the terms of her missionary visa because she reportedly engaged in political activities across the country.
However, her lawyers said they would appeal against the order and called the move “persecution.”
“Helping the poor is not a risk to public interest, peace or order. In fact, the government must recognize her selfless service to the oppressed sectors of this society,” her lawyers said.
“Well of course I'm disappointed but that's the order, and we'll look at what we can do about it,” Fox told PNA.
The nun has been working with the country’s poor people since the last 27 years. During that time, she has worked for human rights and workers’ welfare. Working for humanity ended up her joining allies against Duterte.
Consequently, the president ordered a probe into her activities in the country. As the probe deepened, the 71-year-old was taken into custody by authorities in April 2018. Moreover, her visa type was also changed to temporary visitor’s visa.
As her case reached the court, in June, a judge granted her an appeal and also ordered to change her visa type to missionary visa again. She was allowed to stay in the country but a separate deportation case against the nun was filed in the court.
“Those in the Philippines are here because of our consent for them to be here. But they are not allowed to engage in any political activity,” said Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr.
Eventually, her deportation was ordered that stated she “poses a risk to the public interest.” The order also stated that Fox participated in a rally that was protesting Duterte’s extension of martial law. It also accused her of taking part in conferences that tackled rights issues against the government.
Duterte has plainly stated he has no problem trampling on human rights in his war against drugs. He has also gone one step further by calling on the police to shoot any human rights activist daring to stand up to his devastating drug war.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Romeo Ranoco