My world turned upside down when six agents of the Philippines' Bureau of Immigration came to my house to arrest me, writes Sr Patricia Fox. Source: ucanews.com.
From being unknown, except by those who did actually know me, I became a public figure.
I was told by the authorities that they wanted me to go with them to answer some questions. But as things unfolded, it became clear that the intention was to immediately deport me.
However, due to a quick response of people I work with at the Agricultural Workers' Union, and the arrival of lawyers from the peasant and human rights sectors, the deportation did not take place.
Until now, with continuing support of various groups, including different churches and the untiring work of lawyers, I remain in the Philippines.
I am still amazed at this support, which I hadn’t expected. Even people I meet in the streets tell me that they are praying that I stay.
It has been a very tense time for me, never knowing what will happen next or whether agents will be back on my doorstep to rearrest me. This was especially so when I discovered that it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who ordered my arrest in April.
While I expected the deportation process to proceed as allowed by law with a right to appeal, suddenly the Bureau of Immigration cancelled my missionary visa and gave me 30 days to leave the country.
They claimed that I had no right to due process, but after appeals the Department of Justice returned the case to the Bureau of Immigration, saying that there was no provision for forfeiture of my visa as everyone had the right to due process.
I felt a sense of relief in some ways, knowing that at least I still had a visa. But now the deportation case is going ahead.
– Australian missionary Sr Patricia Fox of the Congregation of Religious Sisters of Our Lady of Sion has been working in the Philippines for 27 years.
Living in the midst of uncertainty (ucanews.com)
Duterte breaks own moratorium on church, God attacks (ucanews.com)