MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has ordered the deportation of Australian missionary nun Patricia Fox on Thursday.
Fox, according to the immigration bureau, violated the terms of her missionary visa for her supposed political activities in the country.
Aside from the deportation order, the bureau also ordered that Fox be placed on the immigration watchlist and barred from returning to the Philippines.
In a Facebook post, Fox's counsel Maria Sol Taule lamented the BI's order, saying they were "utterly dismayed" at the development.
"Sr. Pat have been doing her missionary work in the Philippines for the past 27 years undisturbed by any deportation case. Helping the poor is not a risk to public interest, peace or order. In fact, the government must recognize her selfless service to the oppressed sectors of this society," she said.
The lawyer said Fox "does not deserve this kind of persecution," asserting that the government has "no basis to say that Sr. Pat is an undesirable alien."
Fox's camp plans to file a motion for reconsideration.
"Sr. Pat's missionary work is not defiance to the government but a firm solidarity to all the struggles of the Filipino people. She has all the rights under domestic and international laws to exercise her freedom of religion and expression," she said.
"We will face and fight this case in all avenues and exhaust the remedies available to us," she added.
The BI order comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ) last month nullified the forfeiture of fox's missionary visa on technical grounds.
Justice Chief Menardo Guevarra instead ordered the BI to hear the visa cancellation case along with a deportation case already commenced against Fox.
The 71-year-old nun, who has been living in the Philippines for nearly 3 decades, had previously denied accusations that she was engaged in "partisan political activities."
She earlier said her missionary work involves dealing with farmers, indigenous peoples, and victims of social injustice.
"We work with organized groups who are working for social justice. Often, groups working for justice are labeled Left. Like if you want, land rights, you're Left. But to me it's just basic human social justice issue... It's very consistent with the teaching of the church," she had said.