DOJ: Australian nun can appeal Immigration order to forfeit her visa

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 24) — The fight for Australian nun Patricia Fox to stay in the country is not yet over.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday said the missionary can appeal the order of the Bureau of Immigration to forfeit her visa and for her to leave Philippines by the end of May.

"Sister Fox has the option of appealing the BI's action to my office. The DOJ exercises supervision and control over the BI," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message to CNN Philippines.

This is contrary to the Immigration Bureau's statement the order was "final and executory." On Wednesday, it denied the appeal of Australian nun Patricia Fox to reinstate her missionary visa, paving the way for her mandated exit from the country.

Related:

Sister Fox's lawyer Sol Taule said they will file a petition for review before the DOJ by Friday.

 

On April 23, the Immigration Bureau ordered the 71-year-old nun's missionary visa forfeited. It was still to expire on September 5, 2018. The order included her deportation by the end of May.

It also directed the deactivation of her alien certificate of registration.

In a statement on Wednesday, Fox's lawyer Robert Pahilga said the Australian nun was just exercising her freedom of expression and promoting the protection of the rights of the poor and needy.

"They are consistent and in accordance with her mission and the charism of the Sister of our Lady of Sion to promote peace, social justice, and human rights," Pahilga said.

Immigration Spokesperson Dana Sandoval, meanwhile, said the complaint for deportation against Fox for engaging in political activities remains pending, as it is separate from the visa forfeiture.

She added Fox could still return to the country as a tourist as she is not blacklisted.

The bureau also dismissed the Australian nun's claim of lack of due process and that there was no evidence to allegations she engaged in political activities.

Fox was accused of engaging in partisan political activities, a prohibited act for foreigners under the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. Authorities said she was seen in a rally organized by Kilusang Mayo Uno and Gabriela at the Coca-Cola distribution center in Davao City on April 9.

President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on April 18 that he ordered the probe on Fox, which led to her temporary detention for questioning.