Australian nun to appeal visa cancellation, seeks chance to explain

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 25 2018 04:58 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2018 05:35 PM

Sister Patricia Fox, provincial superior of the Our Lady of Sion Sisters, meets her legal counsel and leaders of the Catholic Church after her arrest on April 16, 2018 at the Bureau of Immigration building in Intramuros, Manila. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Australian nun Patricia Fox will appeal the cancellation of her visa, as she seeks a chance to explain her activities in the Philippines. 

The 71-year-old missionary, whose visa was cancelled days after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a probe over her alleged 'disorderly conduct,' remains hopeful that the Bureau of Immigration will reconsider its decision.

"I was surprised as I had thought the process was that I would have 10 days to put in a counter affidavit to answer the charges," said Fox. 

"It was through the media that I heard of the decision as I or my legal counsel don’t yet have a copy. I am very sad that the decision at present is that I leave the Philippines," she added.

The government ordered her to leave the country in 30 days, for supposedly violating the terms of her stay when she participated in political activities. 

But Fox said her activities were not political and that her missionary work requires her to be with the poor. The nun's lawyer, Jobert Pahilga, said they will question the Bureau of Immigration's order. 

Fox meanwhile recalled working with farmers, tribal groups and urban poor in her nearly 3 decades of stay in the Philippines.

"It seems this is what has brought me into conflict with the Philippine Government. I am still hoping for a chance to explain how I see my mission as a religious sister and maybe the decision can be reconsidered," she said. 

Fox said she will be "forever grateful" to Filipinos for the memories in her 27 years of stay in the country. 

"I may lose my right to be in the Philippines but I can never lose the learnings and beautiful memories," she said.