Aussie nun appeals against deportation from Philippines

Australian Patricia Fox flanked by her fellow nuns ahead of filing a petition against her deportation in Manila yesterday.
Australian Patricia Fox flanked by her fellow nuns ahead of filing a petition against her deportation in Manila yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA • An elderly Australian nun facing deportation after angering Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched a lastminute appeal against the order yesterday, the deadline for her to leave the country.

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

Mr Duterte, who accuses the Melbourne native of “disorderly conduct”, had the immigration service detain her briefly last month, after which her missionary visa was cancelled.

“Of course my wish is to continue my missionary work here and be with the poor,” Ms Fox told reporters after filing her appeal with the Justice Ministry, which oversees immigration.

She had earlier filed an appeal with the immigration service, which this week upheld the deportation order asking the nun, who has been in the Philippines for nearly three decades, to leave the country by yesterday.

But on Thursday, the immigration service’s spokesman Dana Sandoval said her office “will submit to any directive that may come from” the Justice Ministry.

Lawyer Katherine Panguban said Ms Fox’s legal team was studying other options in case the Justice Ministry rejects her appeal. “We will exhaust all administrative and judicial remedies available,” she said.

Ms Fox said earlier this month that she apparently angered President Duterte by joining a fact-finding mission in April to investigate alleged abuses against farmers, including killings and evictions by soldiers fighting guerillas in the southern Philippines.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2018, with the headline 'Aussie nun appeals against deportation from Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe