Philippines' Duterte personally ordered arrest of Australian nun

Rodrigo Duterte at Palarong Pambansa

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier recounted that immigration officers arrested Fox at her residence at Project 2, Quezon City and later brought her to the agency for "a random checking and verification of her immigration papers and status".

"I ordered her to be investigated, not deported at once, not arrested, but to invite her to an investigation for disorderly conduct", Duterte said during the change of command ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The nun was detained for "disorderly conduct" on Monday and held at the immigration bureau in Manila for almost 24 hours.

Fox, a long-time resident of the Philippines, had taken part in rallies seeking the release of political prisoners and urging Philippine authorities to respect human rights.

"Ikaw madre (You nun), why don't you criticize your own government, the way you handled the refugees hungry and dying, and you turned them back to the open sea? Bakit hindi ka magyakyak doon (Why don't you say something about it)?" the President asked.

He also claimed his bloody war on drugs "paled in comparison" to the violations of Australia. "If you call it political, I call it part of our duty as the religious to support and stand for the poor".

The president then warned "leftist groups" to stop inviting foreigners into the country. We never did that to (a) European country. Perhaps, apologies are in order. "So he has no right to enter and we have the power to refuse foreigners entry to our territory", he said.

Just hours before the president's defiant admission of ordering action against the nun, his spokesman Harry Roque said "apologies are in order" because the BI had made a "mistake". "Maybe the BI also makes mistakes", he said.

Prior to the issuance of Fox's release order, progressive groups staged a protest in front of the BI office in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday morning, condemning her "illegal arrest and detention", and calling for her immediate release.

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.

The BI had originally accused the nun of "engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations".

"I haven't joined political rallies in terms of party politics, but I have been active in human rights issues", she said.

On Sunday, immigration authorities barred Party of European Socialist (PES) deputy secretary general Giacomo Filibeck, an Italian national, from entering the country for violating the conditions of his stay as a tourist when he came to the Philippines previous year.

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