Guevarra extends Sister Patricia Fox’s deadline to leave PH

Lian Buan
Guevarra extends Sister Patricia Fox’s deadline to leave PH
In Guevarra’s order, Australian nun Patricia Fox has until June 18 to leave the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra extended the deadline for Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox to leave the Philippines, which was originally set on Friday, May 25.

Guevarra issued an order late afternoon Friday, or merely hours after Fox filed a petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ), where he said that the nun has until June 18 to leave the country.

By this, Guevarra effectively extended Fox’s stay. The main content of Guevarra’s order on Friday was to require the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to comment on Fox’s petition within 10 days. After the BI comment, Fox can file a reply within 5 days.

Fox’s missionary visa was forfeited over her alleged participation in political rallies.

Why the extension? Guevarra had a different computation of days with the BI.

On April 23, the BI forfeited Fox’s missionary visa and ordered her to leave the country within 30 days of receipt. That was May 25, according to the BI, which means Fox received the order on April 25.

However, Guevarra said that the 30-day count “was interrupted” when Fox filed a motion for reconsideration with the BI on April 30. That’s five days from receipt, which Guevarra said means five days less of the 30-day count.

On May 23, BI denied the motion and affirmed its order for Fox to leave.

“Upon denial of said Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner had a remaining period of 25 days from May 24, 2018, the date when she was served a copy of the order denying her motion for reconsideration, or until 18 June 2018 within which to leave the country,” Guevarra said.

Order to comment. In his order, Guevarra reiterated that the DOJ “exercises supervision and control over the BI.”

After both BI and Fox submit their comment and reply, Guevarra said the DOJ may also call for “clarificatory hearings.”

“The Office reserves the right to call such clarificatory hearings as may be necessary to arrive at a just resolution of this appeal,” Guevarra said.

Fox ran to the DOJ on Friday, appealing that the justice department reinstate her missionary visa. Fox said photos of her in rallies do not constitute clear grounds for visa cancelation stated on the Immigration Law.

The BI had previously said that Fox cannot defy the order by simply filing a petition at the DOJ. The BI said Fox would need a decision from the DOJ to stop the implementation of the order.

They added that if Fox doesn’t leave by Friday, May 25, she will be slapped with a new deportation complaint.

BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval has not replied to Rappler’s request for comment on this new developlent as of writing time.

Fox is not considered deported yet. She may return to the country on a tourist visa, according to BI. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.