Faith Vs. The Strongman: Australian Nun Loses Deportation Case with Duterte

Global Politics, International Relations, Philippines, Rundown

The battle against deportation of Australian missionary, Sister Patricia Fox has come to end. The vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte had her passport officially confiscated on Wednesday.  She struggled for months to overturn her deportation but immigration officials denied extension of her visa.

Sister Patricia said in an interview: “I’m really very sad,”

“We were really quite confident that we would get an extension… I think probably the President ordered [the Department of Justice] not to give an extension.”

She caught the ire of Duterte due to her involvement in human rights rallies directed towards the strongman who is allegedly at the helm of thousands of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

Earlier this year, Duterte accused Fox of partisan political involvement and told her “You don’t have the right to criticize us.”

Bureau of Immigration has a circular that prevents foreigners from engaging in political activities. They said that Sister Patricia misused her missionary visa by going beyond her assigned community and ventured into activities that stemmed from “political and human rights issues against the government”.

Human Rights Watch organization claims that Fox’s case clearly serves as a stern warning to those who dare speak against the government.

Carlos Conde, a researcher with the rights’ organization shares his opinion that Sister Fox’s situation is representative of how Duterte’s administration deals with its critics:

“What happened to Sister Fox should be viewed in the context of Duterte’s systematic attempt to frustrate accountability for the killings by targeting critics from politics, civil society and the media; threatening them and imprisoning them.”

Fox returned to Australia on Saturday and has been blacklisted by Philippines Bureau of Immigration.

She asked the Australian government to stand up to Duterte:

“I think they need to [be more forceful] … we have to start being responsible for what’s happening over there,” she said.

Before she left the Philippines, she said that “Mr Duterte should listen to the cry of small people”.

Duterte won the 2016 Philippine presidential election on the strength of his anti-drug platform. His violent “War on Drugs” has claimed more than 20,000 lives; mostly coming from the poorest sectors of Philippine society.

Duterte’s “War on Drugs” has killed only pushers and users.

Not a single “drug lord” has been caught.

Interestingly, Duterte who has been closely associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines since his time as mayor of Davao City has pivoted the country’s foreign and trade policies toward China.

China is the leading supplier of illegal drugs such as “shabu” to the Philippines. Shabu is methamphetamine hydrochloride.

Since Duterte became the President of the Philippines, the supply of shabu in the country has reached record-levels.