Australian nun’s deportation not a political payback — Palace official

Published July 20, 2018, 5:20 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Genalyn Kabiling

The deportation of Australian missionary nun Patricia Fox has nothing to do with any alleged political payback by the administration, according to a Palace official.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque insisted that the government merely enforced the immigration laws and observed due process in the case of Fox.

The Bureau of Immigration recently ordered the deportation of Fox for allegedly violating the terms of her missionary visa. Fox, who drew the ire of President Duterte when she joined political activities, was also placed on the bureau’s blacklist that bars her re-entry into the country.

The immigration order prohibiting foreign visitors from participating in political activities was issued by then Justice Secretary and now Senator De Lima.

“Wala pong pulitika dahil kung babasahin ninyo mismo iyong issuance kay Leila De Lima, isa siya sa nagsasabi doon na ang mga dayuhan hindi dapat namumulitika dito sa ating bayan [There is no politics here because if you read the issuance of Leila de Lima, she said foreigners should not engage in political activities in our country],” Roque said in a radio interview when asked if political vindication involved in the case of Fox.

“Nagkaroon po ng due process, dininig po si Sister Fox at nagkaroon po ng desisyon na matapos magsumite ng ebidensiya – si Sister Fox ay isang undesirable alien and is subject to deportation [Due process was observed. Sister Fox was subjected to a hearing and a decision was made, after submission of evidence, that Sister Fox is an undesirable alien and is subject to deportation],” he added.

On allegations the Palace was behind the order against Fox, Roque said the only involvement is the President’s duty to implement the country’s laws.

“Dura lex, sed lex — the law maybe harsh but that is the law,” he said about the deportation order.

“Siguro po ang kamay ng Malacañang ay dahil ang Presidente ang tagapagpatupad ng ating mga batas at ang batas na pinapatupad dito ay iyong ating immigration laws na pinatupad naman ng ating Commission of Immigration and Deportation [Maybe the only hand of Malacanang is because the President is the implementor of our laws. And the law enforced here are immigration laws implemented by the Commission on Immigration and Deportation],” he added.