Reversal of nun’s deportation hinges on Duterte, CBCP talks

Priests praying for beleaguered Sister Patricia Fox, who was ordered deported by the Bureau of Immigration. (HOSPF image)

PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision on whether or not to reconsider the order deporting a foreign nun would depend on the outcome of his meeting with the lawyers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Roque confirmed in a Palace press briefing that Duterte will be meeting lawyers from San Beda tapped by the CBCP to speak with the President about controversial Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox’s case.

“We’ll see because the San Beda people will be here in Malacañang. If I’m not mistaken, day after tomorrow,” Roque said.

Roque said that in deporting Fox, Duterte was just implementing a Bureau of Immigration (BI) rule issued by former Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima

Roque was referring to Operations Order No. SBM ‎2015-025 approved by De Lima in July 2015.

Under the said order, “foreign tourists are prohibited from engaging in a political activity as defined by law and jurisprudence, such as but not limited to, joining, supporting, contributing or involving themselves in whatever manner in any rally, assembly or gathering, whether for or against the government.”

The CBCP, earlier, appealed to the BI to review its order and allow Fox to stay and continue her advocacies in the country.

“In this recent development, we sincerely make an appeal that the authorities may make a reconsideration of their order for Sr. Patricia Fox to leave the country,” said CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles in a statement issued Friday.

“Without entering into the merits of both parties in the case, this is for the proper authorities to decide. But this we say: We believe in the sincerity and dedication of Sr. Patricia to serve our people. We believe further that she is moved to serve our people by the love of Christ. ‘The love of Christ urges us,’” Valles said, quoting a verse from the Holy Bible.

Last April 25, the BI ordered Fox to leave the country after it cancelled her missionary visa due to her involvement in partisan political activities.

The bureau has given Fox a month to leave the country upon receipt of the decision. The BI also deactivated her alien certificate registration.

Fox’s missionary visa will expire on Sept. 5, 2018.

p: wjg