BI detains, releases Australian nun amid furor
THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday released Australian nun Patricia Fox a day after she was ordered detained by BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente for “violat(ing) the conditions of her stay by engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations,” according to a statement by the agency.
Mr. Morente acted upon the recommendation of the BI legal division and released Ms. Fox “for further investigation after it was established that the Australian nun holds a valid missionary visa and, thus, she is a properly documented alien,” the statement said.
Opposition groups Gabriela Women’s Party and Makabayan Bloc condemned the detention, with Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus saying in a press statement, “Sister Patricia was arrested and detained for merely participating in a recent international fact- finding and solidarity mission on the rights abuses in Mindanao. This can be a very loose pretext by the Duterte regime for nabbing anyone who stands up for human rights and against the attacks on civil liberties.”
Senator Nancy Binay-Angeles on Tuesday said the BI should focus on going after terrorists and drug syndicates entering the country, instead of exerting “excessive use of authority” over the 71-year- old Australian missionary.
“How can a 71-year- old nun be a threat to society? Sister Patricia has been helping farmers, lumad (indigenous peoples), and those in the marginalized sector of society,” said the senator, who heads the Senate committee on social justice, welfare, and rural development.
For his part, Senator Francis N. Pangilinan pointed out the arrest came after European Union Socialist Party official Giacomo Filibeck was barred from attending a local conference and later deported for being in BI’s black list.
“The emerging trend on crackdown against foreign activists in the country is alarming as exhibited by the harassment and casual arrests of the two human rights advocates, who were not even in protest activities or rallies when taken into custody,” he said in a statement.
“These incidents will trigger more questions on what the government is trying to conceal,” he added. — and
AUSTRALIAN nun Patricia Fox is escorted by immigration officers upon her release Monday.