Immigration bureau orders release of Australian nun

Rodrigo Duterte at Palarong Pambansa

Rodrigo Duterte at Palarong Pambansa

"If the government is threatened by a 71-year-old nun, there is something really wrong with the government".

The Philippines on Monday detained an Australian nun for alleged "illegal political activities" after she took part in a human rights fact-finding mission in the south of the country. "We call for her immediate release", the progressive solons said.

More so, the BI said questioning by the BI Legal Division established that Fox's missionary passport is still valid, thus she is a documented alien.

Fox, a missionary of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, joined an global fact-finding mission in the southern Philippines this month to look into reported violations of the rights of farmers and indigenous people, Pahilga added.

Fox, according to BI, submitted her passport along with the other immigration documents showing she was issued her visa on October 15 past year and that it will expire on September 9, 2018. Her visa is valid until September 9, 2018.

Who is Sister Patricia Fox?

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She is the superior of the Notre Dame de Sion in the Philippines, a congregation of Catholic nuns.

"This comes after President Duterte threatened to arrest officials of the ICC and after immigration officials deported an European Union parliamentarian [Giacomo Filibeck]", he said.

"Sister Pat Fox is a long time human rights advocate, particularly for the rights of mostly poor and landless farmers in the country". She is no criminal or undesirable alien.

'We condemn her unjust detention and the deportation proceedings initiated against her, ' Renato Reyes secretary-general of the leftist Bayan (Nation) movement, said.

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The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News reported that Fox has worked in the Philippines for 27 years helping farmers and indigenous peoples (IPs).

When SBS News spoke with a CBCP spokesman they said she had been detained for about 21 hours (as of 3.30pm AEST Tuesday).

Almost a day after she was apprehended, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it granted the release of 71-year-old Australian Catholic nun Sister Patricia Fox on Tuesday, April 17.

The immigration bureau confirmed the Fox's arrest but declined to issue any statement until after the investigation is complete.

Sister Patricia Fox recently joined an global fact-finding and solidarity mission in Mindanao. Activists and civil society are concerned that he is behind a crackdown on foreigners in the country after the arrest and release of nun Patricia Fox.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law on Mindanao last May, after militants associated with the so-called Islamic State, stormed the city of Marawi. Immigration agents supposedly claimed that they were just verifying her papers. "People should realise the government has a tendency of being dictatorial", Pabillo said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses an event with Filipino community in Hong Kong, China April 12, 2018.

Her lawyer said: "Contrary to the claim of NICA, Sister Pat did not join any rally in Tagum or Davao or in any province of Region XI for that matter".

Reuters was unable to contact Sister Fox for comment. "Sister Pat should be immediately released without conditions", she added.

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