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A reprieve for how long?

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Australian Catholic nun Sister Patricia Fox won a reprieve from Justice chief Menardo Guevarra who, in reviewing her deportation case, threw out the Bureau of Immigration’s deportation order against the nun on account of the BI’s move to forfeit her missionary visa.

Guevarra said while the BI has vast powers, the bureau, which has the power to cancel visas, does not have the power or authority to forfeit visas, which ruling then gives Fox a longer time in the country.

She and her leftist friends expect her to stay in the country for years on end, since she and her lawyers have already stated that they will fight out the deportation case all the way to the Supreme Court.

However, this long-term plan of Fox may not pan out since the deportation case of Fox is back at the BI, and this time, it is the BI that has the power and authority to cancel her visa.

Once canceled, Fox will have no choice but to leave the country. The Justice secretary, who has given Fox even more time in the country (while making himself look good before the public by throwing the case back to the BI) nevertheless made it clear that the BI can cancel visas of foreigners who interfere in politics and political activities for or against the government.

The case against Fox has been complicated by the Department of Justice (DoJ) chief with its ruling against the BI against visa forfeiture (which shouldn’t be that different from BI’s power to cancel visas).The real problem facing the BI is that other foreign political activists who have violated Philippine laws and rules may well be using the same reasons Fox and her leftist friends used to have her stay longer which can lead to the BI being castrated by the DoJ chief.

These foreign political activists, supported by locals, especially the leftists who come to the country to create political mayhem against government, will then question the BI’s order to deport them once they step in the country, seek a petition for review before the DoJ and get a reprieve from Guevarra.

Whether the DoJ grants or rejects the appeal from a foreign activist, this would give the foreign activist more time to plot his next move, which is to bring up his case against the BI before the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, that foreign activist can continue to engage in whatever that individual was doing prior to a BI deportation order.

This was what Fox did. She fought the BI’s deportation order, went up to the DoJ for a review and was granted her appeal by Guevarra to get her missionary visa back.

In the meantime, while she awaits deportation proceedings against her, which will have the same result, the nun vowed on Monday to continue doing missionary work for the indigenous peoples, the urban poor and the oppressed farmers in the country.

“I will continue with my missionary work because that’s the expression of my mission,” Fox was quoted as telling reporters.

“For me, it’s the mandate of the Church. That’s the teaching of the Church, to do missionary work. I’m not doing anything wrong anyway.”

But what may not be wrong for her to do her missionary work where she mixes the missionary work with political overtones, such as getting the urban poor and “oppressed farmers in the country” to protest against government and joining them in such protests, the fact is the Philippine government is sectarian and its Constitution clearly states the principle of separation between Church and State.

Fox should not and cannot misuse her missionary visa to engage in political activities while using the excuse that she is merely doing her job as a missionary because what she does—by way of engaging in political activism and joining protest activities against government – is no longer missionary work, and Fox knows it.

If this is what she believes to be missionary work, she should have sought Philippine citizenship all these 27 years living in this country and she can blast away at the government and protest all she wants.

Fox never did. Does she, a foreigner, expect special treatment simply because she is a nun?

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