Philippines’ Duterte personally ordered arrest of Australian nun
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday that he had personally ordered the detention of an elderly Australian Catholic nun, warning that any foreign critics of his government face deportation.
Sister Patricia Fox, 71, a longtime resident of the Philippines, was detained by the immigration bureau on Monday on suspicion of engaging in political activities.
She was released without charges the next day.
“It was not the military who arrested the nun. It was upon my orders,” Duterte said in a speech to soldiers on Wednesday.
“I ordered her to be investigated… for disorderly conduct.”
Duterte has previously launched into scathing verbal attacks on critics of his deadly drugs war, in which thousands of people have died.
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor launched a preliminary investigation in February into allegations of extrajudicial killings.
This prompted Duterte to withdraw from the ICC and threaten to arrest the chief prosecutor if she comes to the Philippines.
“You insult me under the cloak of being a Catholic priest, and you are a foreigner! Who are you? It is a violation of sovereignty,” Duterte said, apparently referring to Fox.
He said he had the power to deport people and planned to instruct authorities: “Don’t let her in because that nun has a shameless mouth.”
Fox, a missionary of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, joined an international fact-finding mission in the southern Philippines earlier this month to look into reported violations of the rights of farmers and indigenous people, her lawyer said.
In an interview with Manila’s ABS-CBN network after her release, Fox insisted: “I haven’t been engaged (in) party politics.”
Duterte told his political opponents not to invite critics to the country and warned that foreigners who “malign and defame” the government would be arrested.
On Sunday, Manila deported Italian Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary general of the Party of European Socialists, who had previously condemned “extra-judicial killings” in Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown.