Philippines issues new order to expel Australian nun

Sister Patricia Fox, 71, has been accused of illegally engaging in political activism as the government of The Philippines cracks down on foreign critics on its soil.
Sister Patricia Fox, 71, has been accused of illegally engaging in political activism as the government of The Philippines cracks down on foreign critics on its soil.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines issued on Thursday (July 19) a fresh deportation order for an elderly Australian nun who angered President Rodrigo Duterte, as her lawyers pledged to block her expulsion.

Sister Patricia Fox, 71, has been accused of illegally engaging in political activism as the government cracks down on foreign critics on its soil.

"We find Fox Patricia Anne, Australian national, in violation of the limitations and conditions of (the Philippines immigration law) and order her deportation to Australia," said the government order shown to AFP by her lawyers.

Mr Duterte has supported Ms Fox's removal. He ordered her arrest in April and previously said he wanted her investigated for "disorderly conduct".

Ms Fox, who has been living in the Philippines since 1990, drew the President's wrath after joining a fact-finding mission in April to investigate alleged abuses against farmers - including killings and evictions by soldiers fighting guerrillas.

Last month, her deportation was halted when Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said immigration authorities used the wrong procedure to expel her.

The decision gave Ms Fox a reprieve but Mr Guevarra also ordered the immigration authorities to hear a case on her visa's cancellation along with pending deportation proceedings.

The new order issued on Thursday would also bar her from re-entering the Philippines. The immigration office spokeswoman did not return AFP's calls for comment.

Ms Fox's lawyers told AFP they plan to appeal within the next few days.

"Under the (immigration service) rules, if we file the order is not executory. And we will file an appeal," lawyer Jobert Pahilga said.

"Very sad, but hopefully I can challenge it still," the nun separately told AFP in a text message.

Mr Duterte, 73, has also launched a deadly crackdown on drugs and has railed against human rights critics, especially foreigners whom he accuses of meddling in his nation's affairs.

"Don't let her in because that nun has a shameless mouth," Mr Duterte said in April, accusing the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion missionary of "disorderly conduct".

Ms Fox has denied engaging in politics, saying her actions were part of her work to advocate for justice and peace.