Sister Patricia Fox plans to question her deportation order before the Court of Appeals should the Department of Justice rule against her.
The Australian nun filed a reply to the DOJ accompanied by members of the left-leaning Anakpawis party today (Monday, October 15).
“I did nothing illegal and I did nothing wrong,” she told reporters. Her lawyers are arguing that even foreigners have the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
She admits joining fact-finding missions, press conferences and rallies and holding banners bearing social justice calls — such as “stop the killings”, “resume peace talks” and “ban destructive mining” — but argues they are just part of her missionary work and not political.
She also said that the Philippine Constitution, law and prevailing jurisprudence give “utmost respect and deference” to the “right to free expression and peaceful assembly, which may only be curtailed if if threatens public welfare”.
“If Filipino citizens may only be restricted from exercising their rights to freedom of expression and to peaceably assemble where there is clear and present danger, the same is also applicable to foreigners like the petitioner,” her seven-page pleading stated.
As we reported earlier this month, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) denied Sister Patricia’s ‘motion for reconsideration’ over the non-renewal of her missionary visa. She was directed to instead apply for a 59-day visitor’s visa.
The BI found that she had violated the terms of her missionary visa and recommended barring her re-entry into the country after photographs showed her apparently taking part in political activities, such as demanding the release of political prisoners and joining rallies for land distribution.
She was first ordered to report to the BI in April, after President Duterte had ordered an investigation into her activities.
Following a series of appeals, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has said that the final decision on the 72-year-old’s deportation will be made by his office.
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