Aussie nun asks gov’t to junk case for lack of merit

MANILA Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox has asked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to dismiss the case against her for lack of merit.

In a 26-page counter-affidavit filed on Friday, the Catholic nun reiterated that she did not violate the conditions of her missionary visa and denied joining anti-government rallies as alleged by BI Intelligence Officer Melody Penelope Gonzales.

I say that there is absolutely no factual and legal basis for the claims that I openly and actively participated in political or partisan activity or that I violated the conditions or limitations under which the missionary visa was issued by the bureau in my favor, she said.

"Thus, I most respectfully move, for it is extremely warranted, to dismiss the case for utter lack of merit, factually or legally, and to restore my missionary visa. I also most respectfully move for the return of my passport to my possession as it is currently under the custody of the Bureau of Immigration, she added.

Fox said the events she participated in were connected to her mission as a member of the Church.

I, thus, say that the activities I have been to, wherever they may be, including participation in rallies, fact-finding missions, press conferences and the like, within and outside of Quezon City, are tied to tasks within and of the Church, with a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society, she said.

Religion, she added, should not be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an option on events affecting society.

She said she simply lived up to the command of the Church to propose in a clear way the fundamental values of human life and convictions that can then find expression in seemingly a political activity.

Therefore, they are not political activities per se but also religious activities within the evangelization and missionary works of religious persons, said Fox, a nun from the Our Lady of Sion.

Last April 16, Fox was apprehended by BI agents for being an undesirable alien, for allegedly violating the conditions of her missionary visa after participating in partisan political activities.

She was released from custody the next day.

On April 23, the bureau cancelled her missionary visa and downgraded it to temporary visitor's visa. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency