Philippines to expel ‘undesirable’ Australian nun who irked Duterte

July 20, 2018 - 10:08 AM
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Sister Patricia Fox
Australian missionary Patricia Fox (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

MANILA — The Philippines blacklisted and ordered the deportation on Thursday of an elderly Australian nun at odds with President Rodrigo Duterte, calling her an “undesirable alien” who broke terms of her missionary visa by engaging in political activism.

The resolution was the second time immigration chiefs have sought to deport Patricia Fox, 71, who two months ago had been granted a reprieve by the justice department.

Fox has worked in the Philippines since the early 1990s and is a coordinator of a congregation of Catholic nuns called Notre Dame de Sion.

The 10-page order said her continued presence in the country “poses a risk to public interest” and she would be barred from returning.

She is accused of taking part in news conferences, labor-related fact-finding missions and protests calling for political prisoners to be freed, for human rights and land rights to be respected and for martial law to be lifted on the southern island of Mindanao.

Duterte has made no secret of his annoyance at Fox and has said he personally ordered an investigation into her activities. He said he refuses to hear criticism from anyone who is not Filipino.

Thursday’s order specifically referred to Duterte’s admission that he had asked for Fox to be investigated.

Fox is the latest in a growing number of people who have challenged Duterte and found themselves investigated, detained, humiliated, and sanctioned for offenses that his opponents say usually amount to technicalities or minor infringements.

“That’s the law,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said of the order to send Fox back to Australia.

Local media quoted Fox as saying she was disappointed but would challenge the order. — Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by David Stamp