Aussie nun appeals deportation order

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  • AUSTRALIAN missionary Patricia Fox yesterday asked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to reconsider its decision to expel her and to bar her return to the country.

    In a motion for reconsideration, the 71-year-old Fox said the BI’s order expelling her from the country gave weight to President Duterte’s previous pronouncement labeling her an “undesirable alien.”

    She said the order “would readily show that it is based on one primordial consideration — the false and unfounded statement of the President that the respondent is supposedly foul-mouthed who has criticized the policies of the Duterte administration even when there is no evidence to support his claim.”

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Fox may stay in the country longer because the deportation order is not immediately executory.

    “The deportation order cannot be enforced until it becomes final. With the filing of the appeal, the deportation will not be executed,” he said.

    He also said that with the filing of the motion for reconsideration, the implementation of the July 19 deportation order is suspended.

    Guevarra said if the BI denies Fox’ appeal, the nun can still file an appeal with his office or even to the Office of the President. The issue could even reach the courts in case Fox decides to file a petition questioning the deportation order after all administrative remedies are exhausted.

    “Any adverse ruling of the DOJ or the Office of the President may further be reviewed by the courts,” he said.

    In ordering her deportation, the BI said it found substantial evidence that Fox violated the conditions of her missionary visa.

    It said that sometime in 2013, 2016 and 2017, Fox engaged in political activities such as demanding the release of political prisoners and participated in a press conference protesting alleged plunder in Mindanao.

    In her motion for reconsideration, Fox said the BI based its deportation order on a report of its intelligence officer, Melody Penelope Gonzales, which detailed alleged acts or conduct that made Fox an undesirable alien.

    She said the acts listed were not put in proper context and were the same acts she has been engaging in in the past 27 years she has been in the country. She also said some of those acts happened under the previous administration which did not sanction her.

    She also said an intelligence report used by the BI, including photographs, were mostly downloaded from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

    “Agent Gonzales relied on various photographs, downloaded mostly from the Internet and social media sites and concluded that the respondent is engaged in illegal activities and that she allegedly violated the terms of her missionary visa. This Honorable Office, in effect, swallowed hook, line and sinker Agent Gonzales’ conclusion, and on that basis, ordered the deportation of her respondent,” Fox said.

    (ASHZEL HACHERO, Malaya)

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