Saturday, June 16, 2018

Unassuming Australian nun takes on Rodrigo Duterte

Sister Patricia Fox, who has been threatened with deportation for crossing the Philippine president, vows she won’t go quietly

On Monday, Sister Patricia Fox is likely not to be at home. Normally, she spends the morning sitting in the walled front yard of the modest home in Quezon City, north-east of Manila, that she shares with six of her fellow nuns. Mornings, she says, are “lazy” time. She drinks tea, takes calls from friends and colleagues and prepares for an afternoon of voluntary work.

But on Monday, if her legal appeals fail, officers of the Philippines Government are expected to arrive, take her away and forcibly deport her – or worse. Jails in the Philippines are tough places.
The stick-thin 71-year-old nun doesn’t plan to let it happen. “I will go to ground,” she says. “I won’t tell you more, but I won’t be sitting around talking to journalists. They should not deport me when I have an appeal underway. And it won’t happen if I can help it.” Sister Fox has been living and working in the Philippines for more than 28 years without receiving a word of publicity. Now, she has sprung to international attention as the Australian nun who has riled a president.

In person, it is hard to imagine anyone less threatening. She needs her glasses to read, admits to scattiness and a forgetfulness when it comes to names. She used to be a school teacher, but claims she was “hopeless” – too soft and no discipline. She says she isn’t scared, though she has lost weight due to stress. Under it all, though, she is determined – and brave. In a turn of events that she admits to finding completely bemusing, her personal story has overshadowed the facts she was trying to bring to international attention when she managed to annoy the president.

For the first time in this interview, Fox revealed that hers is not the only case of deportation. Five other foreign nationals who worked with her have been targeted. One is in detention, two others have had their passports withdrawn, and two have left the country, one deported and one voluntarily. In all these cases, it has been judged for various reasons that publicity will not help. Fox will not reveal their identities... read more: