Senators share mixed sentiments on Bureau of Immigration’s deportation order against a foreigner nun.
SENATORS- Senators expressed diverse responses over the deportation move issued against Australian catholic nun Patricia Fox by the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The order of deportation was issued to the foreign missionary on April 25 for allegedly engaging in partisan political activities in the Philippines, forfeiting her missionary visa.
Based on a report from GMA News, the Senate committee shared their respective sentiments regarding the issue at a news forum on the same day.
As stated in the report, Senators Francis Escudero and Panfilo Lacson, together with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III approved the Bureau of Immigration’s decision of deporting Fox from the country.
In the forum, Pimentel emphasized that the BI has the right and the power to deport and provide necessary punishments for foreigners who violated the host country’s domestic law.
The Senate President also stated that the prohibition of foreigners from interfering in national politics is a general rule and may as well apply to other Filipinos overseas.
“Sa particular case na ‘yan I don’t know what she said, where she said it, etc. Ang akin lang gustong sabihin is nasa power ng BI ‘yung to arrest, detain, and then deport foreigners who violated our domestic laws,” he said.
Sen. Escudero hoped that the misunderstanding will soon be made clear. He called the BI’s decision “unfortunate” but clarified that the grant, denial or withdrawal of visa is unrestricted on the part of any country.
The latter also associated his past experiences to the recent issue and cited that even his application for a US visa was also previously denied despite being admitted to an American school.
Sen. Lacson pointed out that the bill of rights as stated in the Constitution’s equal protection clause does not make a distinction between the foreigners and the locals of the country.
However, in a text message, he said that there is a prevailing jurisprudence that allows the Bureau of Immigration to impose boundaries on foreigners’ activities within the country. He further added that the comprehension of laws with regards to the issue involving Fox is necessary before condemning the Duterte Administration.
When asked for his comment on the said issue, Senator Vicente Sotto, he replied with a Latin maxim “dura lex sed lex” (the law is harsh, but it is the law).
Meanwhile, lawmakers Bam Aquino, Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros criticized the move against the missionary.
Senator Bam Aquino said he will file an appeal to investigate possible abuse in the deportation of foreigners.
“Now, more than ever, we need our laws to protect the rights of people willing to stand up to power and speak out against injustices,” he said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros called the forfeiture of the nun’s missionary order as “unbelievable” and “outrageous”.
“How can a 71-year old Australian nun, who has been doing missionary work in the Philippines for the last 27 years, be a threat to our country?” the Senator said, disheartened by the order.
According to Hontiveros, the move further endorses the climate of impunity rather than safeguard the sovereignty of the country.