The reign of fear in the country as alleged by deported Australian nun Patricia Fox is only applicable to criminals affected by the government’s stricter implementation of the law against illegal drugs and corruption, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo pointed out that terror and tyranny in the country are non-existent, only “a reign of fear in the minds and hearts of those who violated the law.”
“This is a classic case of an inappreciative tourist who saw nothing good and complained about the country which graciously extended its hospitality,” Panelo said, calling Fox’s remarks “misplaced” and “offensive.”
Fox left the country last Saturday, 3 November, following a 27-year missionary work for the poor. She was ordered deported for her alleged involvement in political activities. Upon returning to Australia, she claimed there is an increase in human rights abuses under Duterte.
Panelo, however, defended that perhaps what the 72-year-old nun was talking about is the fear that the President has instilled in the minds of lawbreakers.
Command of Constitution
“There is no reign of terror and tyranny in the Philippines. There is only a reign of fear in the minds and hearts of those who violated the law. They are terrified that the law is finally running after them. What we have is a reign of strict enforcement of the laws,” Panelo said.
He added Mr. Duterte follows and will continue to follow the “command of the Constitution” in enforcing the laws regardless of who is involved.
Panelo made mention of the people’s continued trust and confidence in the President, noting the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) that “a sizeable majority of Filipinos” acknowledge the efforts of the current administration in eradicating criminality, particularly crimes committed related to illegal drugs.
Sharp criticisms against Mr. Duterte hurled by deported Fox upon her return to Melbourne also drew flak from a Cabinet secretary and senators.
“She is starting to be indistinguishable from a radical imam. She has forgotten that drug dealing is essentially anti-Catholic. Drug dealing eats souls,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on a social media post.
Locsin, however, maintained that the bilateral relation between Manila and Melbourne is very good.
“We’re fine with Australia — best partner for self-defense. They talk little; do a whole lot more than the rest,” he posted.
Upon her arrival in Melbourne on Sunday, Fox scored Mr. Duterte’s supposed “reign of tyranny” in the Philippines, citing what she claimed as the worsening culture of impunity.
Prior to her deportation, Fox even urged Duterte to listen to the “voice of the poor” but went on with her verbal assaults on the President upon her return to her native Australia.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said “I don’t pay attention to tirades especially from foreigners who have nothing good to say about our country.”
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he was shocked over Fox’s pronouncements – branding them as against the Catholic religion.”
“I couldn’t believe those words were uttered by a nun. She just can’t contain her bitterness and hatred which doesn’t represent the teachings of Catholicism and the church,” Lacson said.
Instead of attacking the government, Lacson said Fox should have offered prayers of enlightenment.
“She should have offered prayers for enlightenment of the concerned government officials instead of tirades and harsh criticisms towards an elected leader of a country that hospitably hosted her for so many years,” Lacson said.
“She should have offered prayers instead for the Filipinos whom she claimed she loves dearly. Having said that, she cannot be more Filipino than most of us,” he added.
Fox, 71, was deported after she was denied a visa by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation following her active participation in political activism in the country.
with Mario J. Mallari