- The DOJ has reversed Immigration ruling canceling Sister Fox’s missionary visa
- Justice Secretary Guevarra said what the Immigration did was ‘beyond what the law provides’
- Roque, however, clarified Fox may not yet be off the hook since the deportation proceedings is still ongoing
MANILA, Philippines – It could only be a short victory for Australian nun Patricia Fox even after the Department of Justice (DOJ) reverses the earlier ruling by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) canceling her missionary visa after being accused of participating in ‘partisan political activities’.
The 71-year-old missionary nurse was detained for a day in April and her visa was downgraded to tourist visa while a deportation case was also filed by the Immigration.
In a resolution made public on Monday, June 18, the DOJ granted Sister Fox’s petition to retain her missionary visa. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the BI ruling “is beyond what the law provides, that is why it has to be struck down.”
“Our existing immigration laws outline what the BI can do to foreigners and their papers—including visas—when they commit certain acts within Philippine territory,” said Guevarra.
“The BI cannot simply create new procedures or new grounds to withdraw a visa already granted to a foreigner,” the Justice official added.
Guevarra further argued Sister Fox may continue to perform her duties as a missionary in the Philippines until the final resolution of the visa cancellation and/or deportation proceedings is reached, or until the expiration of her missionary visa, whichever comes first.
But in a statement on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the DOJ decision may only be a temporary victory for Sister Fox.
“She’s not off the hook. Ongoing po ang deportation proceedings,” explained Roque during a press briefing. “Antayin po natin ang desisyon ng [BI] on the issue of whether or not sumapi sa pulitika itong si Sister Fox.”
[Deportation proceedings is still ongoing. Let’s wait for the BI decision whether or not Sister Fox was involved in political activities.]
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte called Fox a “foul-mouthed” nun and he admitted ordering investigation against her for “disorderly conduct”.