Sis. Patricia Fox leaves Ph today, November 3

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DAVAO CITY (November 3) — Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox is expected to leave the Philippines today,   after the Bureau of Immigration denied her request for the extension of Temporary Visitor’s Visa (TVV).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) did not allow Fox to stay in the country any longer.

The BI  earlier downgraded Fox’s missionary visa to a temporary visitor’s visa which expires on November 4.

Fox’s lawyers said she is “compelled to leave under strong protest.”

In a statement, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said: “We will not allow the government to forcibly expel Sr. Fox out of the country given her stature as a respected missionary nun and human rights defender neither will we give them the wicked pleasure of gloating over this injustice.” The group also serves as  Fox’s legal counsel.

Guevarra said the Justice Department will continue to study Fox’s appeal on the BI’s deportation order.

The BI had ordered her deportation saying she violated the terms of her visa by participating in political activities. She has explained that her missionary work involved touching base with farmers and ordinary workers.

“Her voluntary departure, if true, is without prejudice to the resolution of her deportation case. If she wins, then her name will be removed from the blacklist,” Guevarra said.

Fox was arrested and detained in April this year for attending protest rallies.

The BI said her participation violated the conditions of her stay, but her lawyers argue that fighting for the rights of minorities is part of her missionary work. Fox’s camp also maintains the gatherings she attended were not anti-government in nature.

The NULP said, “Sr. Fox will leave the Philippines with a clear conscience that she has done nothing wrong and illegal during her 27 years of stay in the country.”

They said Fox will continue to speak up for the rights of the Filipinos and eyes a return to the country after President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.  Supporters of the embattled nun will hold a rally as a tribute to Fox on Saturday.  ezc/NewsLine

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