By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) released from custody Tuesday Sister Patricia Fox, an Australian missionary, a day after she was apprehended pursuant to a mission order that Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente had issued due to reports that she violated the conditions of her stay by engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations.
Morente approved the recommendation of the BI legal division headed by lawyer Arvin Cesar Santos that Fox be released for further investigation after it was established that the Australian nun holds a valid missionary visa and, thus, she is a properly documented alien.
Fox submitted her passport and other immigration documents showing that she was issued her missionary visa on Oct. 15 last year and that that visa is valid until Sept. 9 this year.
In a two-page recommendation to Morente, Santos noted that while Fox was alleged to have taken part in protest actions by farmers in the past, she was not doing so at the time when BI operatives served her the mission order Tuesday.
Santos averred that Fox is not covered by inquest proceedings as the latter will only apply to aliens arrested after being caught in flagrante violating immigration laws.
He said that under BI rules, Fox should undergo preliminary investigation to determine if deportation charges should be filed against her before the bureau’s board of commissioners.