Palace tells Fox: Next time, follow the law

Published November 4, 2018, 7:18 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang advised Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox to follow the law as no good deed can excuse anyone for their wrongdoings.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following Fox’s departure over the weekend after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) downgraded her missionary visa and denied extension.

In a statement, Panelo thanked Fox for the good things she was able to accomplish during her stay in the country. However, he said that everyone has to follow the law.

“We wish Sister Fox well in her travel and we thank her for whatever good deeds she has performed during her stay in the country. Such acts however cannot exempt her from the punishment imposed by law as a consequence of her wrongdoing,” he said.

“Dura lex sed lex. The law may be harsh but it is the law and obedience thereto excuses no one from compliance therewith,” he added.

Panelo also advised Fox to always follow the law wherever she may be so as not to suffer its consequences.

“Our advice to Sister Fox is to follow the law whether here or elsewhere. Otherwise, the law of cause and effect will operate against her, as it did in this particular instance,” he said.

The Palace official, meanwhile, said that Fox is a reminder for foreigners in the country that they do not enjoy the same privileges as every Filipino in the Philippines.

“The departure of Sister Patricia Fox is a timely reminder to all foreigners who stay or sojourn in this country that they are not entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to the citizens of the Philippines, including the absolute exercise of political rights inherently exclusive to Filipino citizens,” Panelo said.

Panelo insisted that Fox suffered her fate because of participating in political rallies, a violation of the conditions of her stay, and as spelled out in BI’s Operations Order No. SBM 2015-025.

“Undeniable is the fact that Sister Fox joined protest rallies. She has publicly acknowledged that joining these activities is part of her advocacy,” he said.

“Her participation therefore violated the conditions of her stay thereby mocking our laws, and abusing the hospitality extended to her by the host country,” he added.

Panelo also disagreed with Fox’s statement that her departure is an injustice, noting that she was given the due process of the law.

“To say that Sister Fox is ‘compelled to leave under strong protest’ is, therefore, misleading as it is erroneous. Neither is there ‘injustice’ nor ‘silencing or threatening anyone from exercising the freedom of expression,'” Freedom of expression remains unbridled in this part of the world,” he said.

“Sister Fox was given due process of law. She underwent a legal process where she was given the opportunity to be heard. She availed of all remedies that she may stay in the Philippines but the BI upheld the law and denied the request for the extension of her visa, which is set to expire tomorrow, November 4,” he added.

In April, Fox was arrested by the BI from a mission house in Quezon City Monday for participating in protest rallies. She was released the following day saying she was not caught in the act of participating in protests.

In a speech in April this year, Duterte said that foreigners in the Philippines have no right to criticize him, saying the right is reserved for Filipinos who are giving him his salary.