Sister Fox fights to continue missionary work in Philippines, lawyer says

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2018 09:48 AM | Updated as of Jun 18 2018 09:59 AM

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 fight for her stay in the Philippines to continue her missionary work, her lawyer said Monday, adding her possible deportation would set a "dangerous precedent."

The Department of Justice may decide as early as Monday on the 71-year-old Fox's appeal to reverse the Bureau of Immigration's cancellation of her missionary visa on allegations she participated in partisan political activities.

Should the DOJ deny Fox's appeal, she would elevate the case to President Rodrigo Duterte's office or to the Supreme Court, her lawyer, Maria Sol Taule, told ABS-CBN News.

"I’d like to stay to continue being with them, continue doing whatever I can. I’ve learned so much from the people, and there’s still a lot more I can learn," Fox said of her missionary work on ANC's Headstart.

"It’s unsettling not knowing what’s happening, but I think because I believe that something good will come and I do have the support of a lot people to keep going," she said.

Fox's deportation will set a "dangerous precedent" for other foreign missionaries, Taule said.

"If they will win this case, parati na lang sasabihin na politically motivated kung tutulong ka sa mahirap. It’s so easy to say that," she said.

(If they will win this case, they will always brand helping the poor as politically motivated. It's so easy to say that.)

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

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Fox said she did not break any rule, and as lawyers at the Commission on Human Rights told her, "anyone has a freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, freedom of speech."

She said she had been on other fact-finding missions before the one Mindanao, which preceded her detention in April.

"I’ve been on fact-finding over the years, and it’s part of how I see solidarity with the people, trying to get the truth in what’s happening. It’s part of my role, it’s religious to try to speak the truth," she said.

"There were reports coming to us about human rights violation, that’s why I took part in it," she added.