After four-month deportation fight, Sister Pat is packing her bags


Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox is packing her bags to leave the Philippines after a four-month fight against deportation.

The 72-year-old missionary was accused in April of joining political rallies after personally ordered an investigation into her activities.

Following months of appeals, her most recent bid to renew her missionary visa, which she has held for 27 years and expires next Wednesday, has been ignored.

Speaking to the AAP today (Wednesday, August 29), she said: “I don’t think they will grant me an extension, so that means I’ll have to leave.

“It is sad, really, because I have not done anything that goes against my principles.

“There has been so much support for me in the Philippines and in Australia and around the world.”

Asked what she planned to do when she got home, she replied: “I don’t know yet, I am sort of in denial.”

Sister Patricia was first arrested on April 16 and detained for 22 for alleged involvement in partisan political protests.

In mid-June, an Immigration Bureau (BI) deportation order was put on hold by the Department of Justice pending further investigations.

Sister Patricia claimed that a lack of due process and also denied that her involvement in human rights campaigns breached the terms of her missionary visa.

On July 19, the Bureau of Immigration again ordered her deportation, within 30 days, declaring her an undesirable alien whose participation in demonstrations was “inimical” to the interests of the state.

She has also been placed on a BI blacklist to prevent her returning to the Philippines.

Her supporters argue that foreign missionaries, like anybody else, have a right to free speech and peaceful assembly.

Sister Patricia is due to meet with her lawyers tomorrow to discuss whether there could be any further way of delaying her deportation.

“I suppose there always might be some hope, but I think the lawyers are coming to a dead end and that I will have to go,” she said.

“I am packing my bags, but I have not bought a ticket yet.”

Sister Patricia has also spoken out about the treatment of 80-year-old Australian law professor Gill Boehringer, who was supportive of her cause.

He was detained at Manila airport on August 8 and held there until August 14 when he was was able to return to Australia. The delay was caused by his airline’s concerns that he was not fit to fly for health reasons.

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