Sr Patricia loses appeal to stay in Philippines

Sr Patricia Fox speaks to the media in April (CNS/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters)

Australian missionary Sr Patricia Fox will exhaust all legal options in an effort to stay in the Philippines after the Bureau of Immigration denied her appeal to stay. 

Sr Patricia, 71, was on April 23 ordered to leave the Philippines on May 25 because the Bureau of Immigration said she had violated her missionary visa.

Her lawyers appealed the decision but the bureau yesterday said it had reaffirmed its order and directed her to leave the country where she’s lived for more than 27 years.

“This order is final and executory. We will not entertain any further motion for reconsideration,” Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement yesterday.

But her lawyer, Jobert Pahilga, said an appeal will be lodged with the Department of Justice.

“She expects that the BI (bureau) would also follow the rule of law and its own rules of procedure and will not arrest or forcibly deport her, to give her the opportunity to appeal,” Mr Pahilga said in a statement to AAP.

Sr Patricia will “exhaust all available legal remedies” to challenge the bureau’s order, Mr Pahilga said.

Sr Patricia was detained in the Philippines on April 16 for almost 24 hours because she engaged in “illegal political activities” after the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte ordered she be investigated for “disorderly conduct”.

Her lawyer says the claims have no factual or legal basis.

Sr Patricia insists she was helping promote and protect the rights of the poor and the needy in accordance with her mission as a nun with the Sisters of Our Lady Sion.

One week later, the bureau told Sr Patricia she had 30 days to leave the Philippines after “she was found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa”.

Sr Patricia’s renewable missionary visa, which was due to expire in September 2018, was also cancelled.

Bureau spokeswoman Dana Sandoval said the complaint against the sister engaging in political activities was separate from her visa issue and pending the investigation into that complaint, Sr Patricia could return to the country as a tourist.

Source: SBS News.