Sister Fox blasts BI 'sloppy' intel based on social media in deportation case

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2018 09:35 AM

MANILA - Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox slammed the Bureau of Immigration on Monday for its reliance on a “sloppy intelligence report” to prove her supposed partisan political activities.

The 71-year-old missionary nun made these remarks in her reply to the BI’s comment on her appeal with the Department of Justice seeking to reverse the BI decision ordering her deportation.

In her 7-page reply, Fox said the July 19, 2018 decision of the BI initially cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements ordering the deportation of Fox as the reason for the BI’s move.

But in its comment to her appeal, the BI supposedly changed tune and instead cited an intelligence report.

“Even while the BI argues now in its Comment that it based the assailed decision on the intelligence report of Agent Gonzales and not on the public pronouncement of the President, again, the report of Agent Gonzales failed to provide the proper context of the activities participated by the petitioner,” Fox’s reply stated, noting that the photos attached to the report are not sufficient to prove her alleged partisan political activities.

“The report is also based on hearsay information, sloppy intelligence report by mere social media stalking. Hence, there is no substantial evidence to support the decision in this case because hearsay information is not evidence,” she added.

Fox argued that since deportation is a “harsh and extraordinary administrative proceeding” that could deprive a person of freedom and liberty, she is entitled to due process and cannot just be deported on a whim.

“[T]he use of an unverified report, similar to that of the intelligence report of Agent Gonzales, as basis for a deportation proceeding should not be taken lightly, because due process requirement dictates that the petitioner should be deported based on grounds defined under the Immigration Law and based on substantial evidence. Considering the adverse effect of a deportation, the same should not be carried out arbitrarily,” she said.

Fox maintained that her participation in fact-finding missions, press conferences and rallies and of holding banners are part of her universally recognized rights and protected rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and are not political and partisan activities.

She added, these activities form part of her mission as a church worker of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.

She also refuted the BI’s assertion that the grant of a visa to a foreigner is a privilege, not a right.

“[T]he State or the BI for that matter, cannot revoke Petitioner’s missionary visa arbitrarily. Due process must be observed, where the evidence and the required quantum of proof must be satisfactorily met,” she said.

Speaking to reporters prior to her filing, Fox said she is optimistic the DOJ will listen to her plea considering that the BI has not addressed her legal arguments.

“[H]anggang ngayon hindi sumagot ang BI sa legal arguments. Yung mga allegations, yung sinasabi nila na gusto ni Presidente, wala silang sagot sa mga legal arguments. Pati doon sa extension ng visa, hindi sila sumagot ng grounds. Walang sagot. Kaya sana ang DOJ, tingnan ang grounds and legal basis,” she said.

She added she is willing to go to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court should the DOJ deny her appeal.

Fox was accompanied by a group of supporters who urged the DOJ not to follow arbitrary orders of the President in deporting the missionary nun.

Aside from her appeal before the DOJ, the BI had also earlier denied her request for an extension of her missionary visa.

Fox’s missionary visa expired on September 5. According to the BI, she has 59 days from that date to apply for a temporary visitor’s visa, otherwise, she will face another deportation case.

Fox said she is currently applying for a visitor’s visa.