“In a supposedly civilized country that respects and promotes human rights and the well-being of its people, no amount of rationalization could justify such an order.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Australian missionary nun Sr. Patricia Anne Fox has asked the Department of Justice to reverse the earlier decision of the Bureau of Immigration to declare her an “undesirable alien” and order her deportation.
In the 38-page petition for review, Sr. Fox, through her lawyers argued that the Bureau of Immigration has already “prejudged the case” for its supposed decision to abide by the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte “irrespective of the merits of the case and the arguments of the parties.”
“Thus, while it may be true that the BI gave the petitioner an opportunity to be heard by allowing her to file her counter-affidavit and memorandum, the same is seen merely as formal compliance with the rules, but it has already clearly made a predetermination of the outcome of the case based on the public pronouncement of the President. Under such a situation, no explanation or argument of the petitioner would anymore matter as the BI has already decided to follow the orders of the President,” the petition for review stipulated.
Sr. Fox has been in the Philippines for the past 27 years. She has been working silently in the sidelines ever since – in solidarity with landless poor peasants and urban poor families facing threats of demolition. In April, she was arrested for her supposed involvement in partisan political activities, which she has argued as mere part of her work as a missionary nun.
No less Duterte himself admitted that he personally ordered the arrest of the missionary nun, whom he ironically described with his usual amount of expletives as “foul-mouthed.”
In the petition, Sr. Fox reiterated that she did not violate the law when she joined rallies and fact-finding missions but was merely doing her missionary work and as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution that supposedly upholds one’s right to freedom of expression.
In a press conference last week, Sr. Fox said that she wants this case to be over soon so that she will be able to prove that she has done nothing wrong but deliver the “good news” to the people as any church worker should do.
“In a supposedly civilized country that respects and promotes human rights and the well-being of its people, no amount of rationalization could justify such an order. For there is nothing illegal and political in petitioner’s act of espousing social justice, peace and human rights,” the petition for review read, adding that these acts are consistent to teachings of the Church to “help the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized.”