07/20/2018, 15.29
PHILIPPINES
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Patricia Fox’s expulsion is a threat to those who criticise Duterte

The 71-year-old Australian missionary is now on a blacklist of personae non gratae. The authorities accuse the nun of joining protest rallies against the government in the cities of Davao and Tagum, in violation with the terms of her visa. The case began last April after the president called for an investigation.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The expulsion of Sister Patricia Fox (pictured) from the country represents "a not so veiled threat to anyone who dare criticise President Duterte," said a Catholic source, anonymous for security reasons.

"The measure is not surprising, it was only a matter of time,” the source told AsiaNews. “The decision had already been made when the president publicly said that this nun had to leave. It is now clear that no one can challenge Duterte."

The Government of the Philippines ordered the expulsion of the 71-year-old Australian nun, placing her ON the country’s blacklist of personae non gratae.

The authorities have accused the nun of joining protest rallies against the government in the cities of Davao and Tagum, violating the terms of her missionary visa.

In its decision yesterday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) ordered the nun’s deportation to Australia, "barring her re-entry” to the Philippines.

According to the BI, allowing Fox to participate in political activities “would open floodgates for other aliens unbridled right to criticise the government by joining rallies to the detriment of public peace and order”.

Sister Patricia has been in the country for 27 years, helping farmers and indigenous people. Recently, she took part in an international mission of inquiry and solidarity into alleged violations of the rights of peasants and Lumad people, in the southern island of Mindanao.

Following a request by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, the BI told the nun on 23 April that she had to leave the country within 30 days. The week before, she had been arrested and released after a day.

A month ago, the Department of Justice (DoJ) accepted to hear Sister Fox's appeal and arranged the temporary suspension of expulsion order. For the DoJ, the decision to cancel her visa over alleged participation in partisan political activities was “without legal basis” and that the process of deportation needed further investigations.

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