Immigration denies Australian nun's appeal to reinstate visa

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2018 06:34 PM | Updated as of May 23 2018 08:22 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday said it has denied the appeal of Australian nun Patricia Fox to reinstate her missionary visa, forcing her to leave the country.

In a 3-page order signed May 17, the BI Board of Commissioners denied with finality Fox's motion for reconsideration on her visa cancellation over alleged "disorderly conduct."

“This order is final and executory. We will not entertain any further Motion for Reconsideration,” it read.

It could be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte had called 71-year-old Fox "foul-mouthed" for criticizing his administration while ignoring her own country's alleged misdeeds.

In deciding to cancel her visa, the BI earlier said Fox had participated in "illegal political activities." She was briefly detained. 

Fox is the superior of the Notre Dame de Sion in the Philippines, a congregation of Catholic nuns.

She had been involved in human rights missions in Mindanao, looking into the plight of indigenous peoples and farmers, left-wing lawmakers said. 

Supporters of Australian nun Patricia Fox, 71, hold placards while waiting for her release outside the Bureau of Immigration headquarters in Manila in April. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters/File

In its order, the BI said Fox "acted beyond allowed activities under her visa by working outside of Barangay Amihan in Quezon City, the place where she claimed she would render her missionary work when she applied for her visa."

It added that "strict rules on evidence do not apply to immigration cases which are administrative proceedings requiring only the lowest quantum of evidence."

Fox had been sent a letter advising her of the steps needed to comply with the order to leave, the bureau said.

BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval, meanwhile, said the deportation complaint against Fox remains pending and that the nun could return to the Philippines because she is not yet in the immigration blacklist.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the BI was just following the law.

"We respect the decision of the Bureau of Immigration. That’s the law. Dura lex, sed lex (the law is harsh, but it is the law)," he said.

Critics earlier hit the BI's action against Fox, saying it seemed to be cracking down on foreigners critical of the administration. 

In April, the BI deported European Socialist Party official Giacomo Filibeck, who denounced alleged killings under the administration's anti-drug campaign during a visit here in October 2017. 

-- Report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News