Fox was in the country in the last 27 years, helping land reform advocates, labor groups, indigenous peoples and people behind bars. Last April, agents of the Bureau of Immigration detained her for nearly 24 hours over an intelligence report that she has violated the order banning engagement in partisan activities political assemblies.
STAR/Joven Cagande
Palace: No tyranny, just 'reign of fear' for lawbreakers
Kristine Joy Patag ( - November 5, 2018 - 2:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — There is a “reign of fear” for lawbreakers in the Philippines but no tyranny as Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox claims, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo, in a press briefing, said that Fox, whom Immigration ordered to leave the Philippines last weekend, might be referring to a “reign of fear” on law violators, and not a “reign of terror, tyranny” in the country when she was interviewed upon her arrival in Australia.

After a legal battle with the Immigration bureau that lasted for months, the elderly nun left for Australia on Saturday night after the Bureau of Immigration threw out her plea to extend her temporary visitor’s visa.

Fox was greeted in Australia by Filipino supporters and by media agencies. In a video posted by Advanced League of People’s Artists Melbourne, Fox said: “At present, the Philippines, the human rights abuses are just increasing and it’s a reign of terror. Of tyranny.”

But Panelo said: “Perhaps what she refers to is a reign of fear on part of those who violate the law. They know for a fact that there is a reign of strict enforcement of the law against violators of the law, there is a reign of fear on the minds of hearts of those violators because they know that the law is running after them.”

The presidential spokesman stressed that Fox was a violator of the laws. “That’s precisely why she departed from this country.”

READ: Hours before departure, Sister Fox tells Duterte to listen to the poor

Duterte ordered probe vs Fox

Fox was in the country for 27 years, helping land reform advocates, labor groups, indigenous peoples and people behind bars.

Last April, agents of the Bureau of Immigration detained her for nearly 24 hours over an intelligence report that she had violated an Immigration order banning foreigners from engagement in partisan activities and political assemblies.

Duterte later admitted to ordering the investigation into Fox for “disorderly conduct.”

“It is not the military who arrested the nun. It was upon my orders implemented by the Bureau of Immigration,” the chief executive said in a speech last April 18.

He would vent his ire against the elderly nun in several of his later speeches, accusing Fox of having a “shameful mouth” and of treating the Philippines like a “mattress to wipe your feet.”

Fact-finding mission, meetings with farmers

Fox apparently earned the ire of Duterte by taking part in a fact-finding mission in April to probe reported rights abuses committed by state forces against farmers in Mindanao, parts of which are affected by a decades-long communist insurgency.

She also reportedly met with farmers in Duterte’s hometown of Davao City after they were arrested on charges of possessing explosives.

Fox bought her deportation case to the Department of Justice, but it has yet to rule on her Petition for Review.

She also said that the culture of impunity is getting worse in the country. She recounted: “Every day you hear, ‘I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you.’” These have been mimicked even by kids, the Australian nun who spent decades going around the Philippines for humanitarian work.

“There’s been a culture of impunity for a long time and it’s getting worse,” Fox added.

Fox testified against Duterte at the International Peoples’ Tribunal in Belgium last September. The tribunal's verdict finding Duterte guilty of rights violations is non-binding, but organizers said it would be forwarded to the International Criminal Court.

The Philippines is leaving the ICC after its prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the government's capaign against drugs.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with