“We reiterate that Sr. Pat did not violate the terms of her missionary visa but it seems that the BI and the Duterte government is too eager to send Sr. Fox out of the country all because of her involvement in human rights work which is consistent with her missionary work.” — Maria Sol Taule, sister Pat Fox’s lawyer
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has forfeited the missionary visa of Australian missionary Patricia Anne Fox and ordered her to leave the country
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that Bureau’s board of commissioners (BOC) forfeited Fox’s privilege of holding a missionary visa due to her involvement in partisan political activities. The BI chief claimed that Fox’s visa granted her only the privilege to engage in missionary work and not in political activities.
In a one-page order issued on Monday, the BI board ordered Fox to leave the Philippines within 30 days from the receipt of the order. Signed by Morente and BI Associate Commissioners J. Tobias Javier and Aimee Torrefranca -Neri, the order cancelled Fox’s missionary visa which was due to expire on Sept. 5 this year. It also directed the deactivation of her alien certificate of registration.
Fox’s lawyer, Maria Sol Taule, said they have not yet received the order. “We reiterate that Sr. Pat did not violate the terms of her missionary visa but it seems that the Duterte government is too eager to send Sr. Fox out of the country all because of her involvement in human rights work which is consistent with her missionary work,” Taule told Bulatlat.
Fox, 71, was taken into custody by officials of the BI on April 16 and eventually released her following strong condemnation from various sectors.
Two days later, President Duterte admitted that he ordered the investigation of Fox for “her disorderly conduct” and for being an “undesirable alien.”
“What Duterte should kick out are foreign plunderers and not Sr. Pat who has dedicated her life to the service of the Filipino people,” Taule said.
Antonette Bucasas- Mangrobang, BI spokesperson, said that Fox’s deportation case is still pending before the BI Special Prosecutor, as Fox has yet to file her counter-affidavit. She said that it is only after the parties have been heard that the case would be submitted to the Board of Commissioners for deliberation.
Mangrobang added that Fox may still enter and leave the country as tourist.
Taule slammed the BI’s due process for being farcical. “The BI has effectively ordered her out of the country while an investigation is supposedly ongoing,” Taule said.
“Sr. Pat stayed here for nearly three decades and lived with the poor. She never wanted to be a tourist in the Philippines. All she wanted is to continue her missionary work serving the Filipino people,” Taule added.