Sr. Fox asks Church’s support as she faces deporation
By CBCP News
September 19, 2018
Embattled Sister Patricia Fox has asked the Catholic hierarchy to stand behind missionaries in prayers and support as she faces deportation.
The Australian nun, whose missionary visa was no longer renewed by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), said her case may affect other missionaries.
“I think it is an issue that the Church has to look at and it needs to come out with a clear statement because it will affect all foreign missionaries in the long term,” Fox said.
She said it has been a long time practice by all foreign missionaries in the Philippines to apply for a 10-year missionary visa, and is subject for renewal after getting a temporary downgraded visa.
In denying to extend Fox’s visa, the BI cited its memorandum of agreement with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines which “restricts missionary visa holders for up to 10 years”.
Fox has earlier appealed for the renewal of her missionary visa after it expired on September 5.
The Bureau insisted that extending the nun’s visa would violate the agreement, adding that Fox had already spent 27 years in the country.
“When you apply, you need endorsement from the CBCP. I have my endorsement from the CBCP. That means that the CBCP is not insisting that it is not only for a 10-year term,” said Fox.
Lawyers Jobert Pahilga refuted the BI’s claim, saying that the 10-year extension and renewal rule should only apply to Fox’s case on the day the Bureau converted her tourist visa on Sept. 5, 2014.
“[When] the BI approved the conversion of Sister Fox’s tourist visa into a missionary visa, she was given a new or a fresh period of 10 years from the said date or until 2024 to stay in the country,” he said.
The 72-year-old nun has been ordered deported from the Philippines for allegedly joining partisan political activities, violating the “limitations and conditions” of her missionary visa.
Sr. Fox has also been placed on the blacklist of undesirable aliens.
But the BI’s deportation order against Fox had been temporarily stalled after she filed a motion for reconsideration before the Department of Justice.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the BI order will have to await the DOJ’s resolution on the appeal.
Sandoval said they may grant Fox the Temporary Visitor’s Visa upon downgrading, without prejudice to the resolution of her appeal to the DOJ on her deportation.