Immigration bureau affirms leave order for Sr. Fox

Immigration bureau affirms leave order for Sr. Fox

Sr. Patricia Fox speaks to journalists during a press conference in Quezon City, April 26, 2018. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

May 23, 2018

Manila, Philippines

The Philippine government has denied the appeal of Sr. Patricia Fox, an Australian missionary who is facing a looming deportation deadline, to reinstate her missionary visa.

In three-page order, the Bureau of Immigration reaffirmed its decision forfeiting the missionary visa of the 71-year-old nun and ordering her to leave the country.

“This order is final and executory. We will not entertain any further Motion for Reconsideration,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Fox’s lawyers have earlier sought a reversal of the BI’s April 23 order forfeiting her visa and directing her to leave the country within 30 days. This means that the leave order for Fox will lapse on May 25.

The agency has earlier warned of deporting Fox in case of non-compliance of its order.

But BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval clarified that the complaint for deportation against Fox in engaging in political activities is still pending as it is separate from the agency’s action forfeiting her visa.

She said that pending resolution of the deportation complaint, Fox could still return to the country as a “tourist” after she leaves as she is not yet in the bureau’s blacklist.

In its order, the BI dismissed Fox’s assertion that the Bureau forfeited her visa without due process and that allegations that she engaged in political activities were not backed with solid evidence.

It reiterated that Fox “acted beyond allowed activities” under her visa by working outside Quezon City, the place “where she claimed she would render her missionary works” when she applied for her visa.

“The order likewise stressed that the strict rules on evidence do not apply to immigration cases which are administrative proceedings requiring only the lowest quantum of evidence,” the bureau explained.

Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, Fox’s counsel, said they will appeal the BI’s latest order before the Department of Justice (DOJ) this week.

“We will challenge the order. We will file an appeal at the DOJ,” Pahilga said.

“We have already expected that the BI will deny the motion for reconsideration that’s why as early as last last week, we have already prepared an appeal,” he said.