Lawyers: Sister Fox to leave PH with ‘clear conscience’

By: Inquirer.net October 31,2018 - 10:57 PM

After months of fighting the Philippine government’s order for her to leave, Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox is set to fly out of the country within the week.

According to the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), a group of human rights lawyers supporting Fox, the Bureau of Immigration required the nun to leave the country by November 3.

“After Sr. Patricia Fox’s six months of arduous battle in the legal and political arena since her illegal arrest and detention on April 16, the Bureau of Immigration finally denies today her application for the extension of her temporary visitor’s visa and requires her to leave the Philippines on November 3,” NUPL said in a statement yesterday.

“She will leave under protest. We will not allow the government to forcibly expel Sr. Fox out of the country given her stature as a respected missionary nun and human rights defender,” the group said.

“Sr. Fox will leave the Philippines with a clear conscience that she has done nothing wrong and illegal during her 27 years of stay in the country. She is and will always be loved by the Filipino people,” it added.

Last week, the BI downgraded Fox’s visa status to a temporary visitor’s.

After the denial of the extension of her missionary visa, Fox was given temporary visitor status valid for 59 days.

“Downgrading reverted her status to a temporary visitor, and she is given 59 days from the day her missionary visa expired, which was September 5,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a previous statement.

The temporary visitor’s visa will expire on November 3.

Fox, in an interview with reporters, said she was sad about the BI decision.

“I don’t believe they have any grounds to the decision but I can’t do much now,” she said. They have an intel agent at the airport to make sure I am gone by Nov. 3, otherwise, the deportation proceeding for overstaying if I don’t go by Nov. 3,” Fox said.

Asked if she intends to return to the Philippines, she said: “Yeah, if I’m not in the blacklist I intend to return. Early next year, probably. I will look at the situation. It depends on the deportation case. I could have a couple of months if I could come back, I will come back.”

“I just feel at home here now. Especially at this time, people come out in support of me. It’s unexpected, so I’m grateful for the support. I’ll miss the life and the people,” Fox added.

She expressed hope that the Department of Justice would still look at her legal arguments.

“The BI has never looked at the legal arguments against my deportation because it is about freedom of expression, movement, assembly, religion. It’s the basic freedom for everybody under the Constitution and the international law,” Fox said.

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