Philippine laws prohibit aliens from meddling in domestic issues and problems. These prohibitory policies have support in International Law, which requires foreigners to abide by the laws of their host countries. It is a basic postulate that a foreigner’s stay depends on the pleasure of the host country.
This brings the discussion to Sister Patricia Fox, a 71-year old Australian nun who has been in the Philippines for the past 27 years on a missionary visa. According to her local handlers, Fox has considered the Philippines her home.
Despite the legal prohibitions imposed on aliens sojourning in the Philippines, Fox got deeply involved in many political rallies and similar protest activities against Philippine government laws and policies on housing and the urban poor. Fox was particularly critical of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte on the issue of alleged human rights violations.
That’s not all. Fox went on to provoke the Duterte administration into taking action against her, after the nun was shown in the news media openly sympathizing and aligning herself with anti-Duterte personalities like de facto Vice President Leni Robredo, de facto Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the ex-mutineer Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
With Fox’s political activities duly documented, the Philippine government decided that Fox had violated the conditions of her missionary visa in view of her involvement in domestic political issues. She was ordered to leave the Philippines for abusing Philippine hospitality.
Assisted by Catholic Church leaders and anti-Duterte elements, Fox fought against her deportation. The most she got was a temporary extension of her stay as a tourist. In the end, her deportation was final. Last Saturday, Fox boarded a flight for Melbourne, Australia.
Fox did not leave without fanfare. A Mass was held for Fox hours before her departure and a caravan organized by anti-Duterte groups brought her to the airport.
As expected, Duterte’s critics inside and outside the Catholic clergy, the politicians in the Liberal Party (LP) in particular, denounced the nun’s deportation. True to their habit of labeling anything that they do not agree with, they branded the deportation as an act of silencing legitimate criticism in the country.
Actually, Fox and her supporters have a lot of explaining to do.
Why should Fox be exempted from complying with Philippine laws governing aliens in the Philippines? Her status as a nun is not a license to violate Philippine laws.
Why is the Catholic clergy protesting a valid enforcement of Philippine immigration laws? Are the Father Damasos in the Philippines suggesting that priests and nuns are entitled to special treatment?
Catholic Church officials are quick to criticize any perceived violation of law by President Duterte, but they want a liberal treatment for their troublesome nun who has no respect for Philippine laws. This double standard demanded by the clergy underscores the truth in President Duterte’s observation that Church officials and priests are hypocrites.
If Fox really considered the Philippines as her home for the past 27 years, why didn’t she apply for naturalization as a Philippine citizen? From all indications, Fox’s real attachment is with her native Australia and she does not want to forfeit the benefits of her Australian citizenship.
The Fox incident exposes the unholy allegiance between the Catholic Church and elements identified with the Aquinos and the despicable yellow army of the LP.
Presidents Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino III were subservient to Catholic Church officials: Jaime Cardinal Sin during the mother’s term and Luis Cardinal Tagle during the son’s. During both Aquino regimes, the Catholic Church in the Philippines enjoyed unparalleled political power and influence in government affairs.
Fox basked in and exploited her status as a nun during the term of President Aquino III. That privileged status ended when Duterte became president in 2016. Fox missed her privileged status and as expected, joined as many anti-Duterte political rallies as she can and identified herself with as many Duterte foes she can get in touch with.
Sister Fox violated Philippine laws with impunity. She was defiant up to the end. Her deportation was certainly in order.
Goodbye, Sister Fox and good riddance.