By Genalyn Kabiling
Australian nun Patricia Fox is not yet off the hook even after Department of Justice (DOJ) reversed a directive of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) revoking her missionary visa, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the deportation case against Fox was still pending despite the latest DOJ decision.
“Sister Fox is not yet off the hook. Ang napawalang bisa lang po ng DOJ [What the DOJ nullified] is the decision of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation which nullified her missionary visa. Ang sabi po ng DOJ walang ganyang kapangyarihan ang CID [The DOJ said the CID has no such authority],” Roque said during a press conference in Cotabato City.
“Pero nakabinbin pa po ‘yung deportation proceedings kaya malinaw po sa desisyon ni Justice Secretary Guevarra, this is without prejudice po sa desisyon ng CID sa deportation proceedings [But the deportation proceedings are still pending so it is clear that Justice Secretary (Menardo) Guevarra’s decision is without prejudice to the decision of the CID on the deportation proceedings],” he added.
Roque said the issue surrounding the deportation case was whether or not Fox was engaged in political activities in the country.
“So uulitin ko po she’s not off the hook. Ongoing po ang deportation proceedings. Antayin po natin ang desisyon ng CID on the issue on whether or not sumapi sa pulitika itong si Sister Fox [So I will repeat, she’s not off the hook. The deportation proceedings are ongoing. Let’s wait for the decision of the CID on the issue on whether or not Sister Fox engaged in politicking],” he said.
The justice department recently granted the petition filed by Fox that the immigration bureau has no legal right to forfeit visas.
The BI earlier revoked the nun’s missionary visa and ordered her to leave the country within 30 days. The bureau claimed Fox, 71, violated the terms of her missionary visa when she got involved in political activities such protest rallies.
Guevarra, however, explained that the BI could not simply create new procedures to withdraw a visa already granted to a foreigner. He said the bureau should resolve the deportation case against Fox and decide whether or not to cancel her visa.
Fox was detained for a day last April after President Duterte ordered an investigation for her alleged “disorderly conduct.”
Duterte has warned that he would arrest foreigns who defame the government in political activities in the country. He insisted that foreigners have no right to criticize or insult the Philippine government because unlike Filipinos, they don’t pay the salaries of government officials here.