A 71-year-old Australian religious sister and known human rights advocate faces deportation from the Philippines after she was arrested yesterday over allegations that she is an “undesirable alien”. Source: CBCP News.
Sr Patricia Fox, mother superior of the Our Lady of Sion congregation in the Philippines, was arrested by six personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at their mission house in Quezon City at around 2.15pm yesterday. She was detained at the Bureau of Immigration intelligence division in Intramuros, Manila.
Sr Fox has been under medication for a spinal cord illness.
BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said that Sr Fox was arrested in pursuant to a mission order issued by Commissioner Jaime Morente.
“We await completion of the investigation before we issue our official statement. Thank you,” Ms Mangrobang said.
Attorney Jobert Pahilga, counsel of Sr Fox, said she faces deportation for her alleged participation in protest rallies.
However the lawyer said the official in charge of the inquest recommended for Sr Fox’s release once she’s able to produce her passport, which she gave to a travel agency arranging her trip back to Australia next month.
This means that Sr Fox had to spend the night at the BI headquarters while waiting for her travel document.
Mr Pahilga said the BI will hold Sr Fox’s passport while an investigation is pending.
Sr Fox has worked in the Philippines for 27 years. She recently joined an international fact-finding and solidarity mission that investigated alleged rights abuses against farmers and indigenous peoples in Mindanao.
“I’ve been in and out of the country several times but I’ve never been questioned,” Sr Fox said. “The immigration bureau has not said anything on what to do with my missionary visa.”
Human rights advocates and church leaders including Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo raised the alarm over the arrest of Fox.
The prelate, who visited Sr Fox at the BI last night said her arrest may be part of a crackdown against government critics.
“There’s no martial law yet but they are already going after people who oppose them,” Bishop Pabillo said.
Immigration bureau detains 71-year-old nun (CBCP News)
Philippines may deport Australian nun (Yahoo7 News)
BI confirms arrest of Australian nun (Inquirer)