Sister Patricia Fox is basing her final chance to appeal her deportation on the possibility that the Bureau of Immigration “prejudged” her case.
The Australian nun, aged 72, said the BI cited President Duterte’s “false and unfounded” statements against her when arriving at their decision to throw her out of the country.
Sister Patricia made this argument in a motion for reconsideration filed at the BI on Monday (July 23) to appeal the BI’s resolution of the previous Friday.
One of her lawyers, Jobert Pahilga, yesterday (Tuesday, July 24) emailed a copy of her motion to Rappler.
It reads: “Reading the Resolution of the Honorable Office would readily show that it is based on one primordial consideration – the false and unfounded statement of the President that the Respondent is supposedly foul-mouthed who has criticized the policies of the Duterte administration even when there is no evidence to support his claim.
“The statement in the Resolution that since the President has already made manifest his intention, the Honorable Office has no choice but to abide by it, shows that it has already prejudged the case.”
In its July 19 resolution, the BI noted that Duterte “has already announced in several media interviews and speeches that Fox is an undesirable alien by joining political rallies”.
By making such declarations, the president had “exercised his plenary power to expel or deport an alien for being undesirable,” the BI said.
Sister Patricia’s lawyers also contend that the BI used a “purely speculative” basis for deporting her. They said it was “based on the unsubstantiated report of a certain Intel Agent Melody Penelope B Gonzales”.
Her lawyers have again asserted that her activities were “not illegal” but were “a valid exercise of her right to free speech and peaceful assembly”.
They said: “The alleged ‘political activities’ are consistent with her mission by which her missionary visa was granted to her in the first place.”
Sister Patricia is the fourth foreign missionary that the BI has ordered to leave the country in recent weeks. As we reported earlier this month, the other three were all Methodist missionaries who were also accused of engaging in political activities.