Arrest of Australian nun ‘embarrassing,’ says Gatchalian
To arrest a person based on wrong information is “embarrassing,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Wednesday.
Gatchalian was reacting to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s statement that “apologies are in order” in the arrest of 71-year-old Australian missionary, Sister Patricia Fox, a known human rights advocate.
Fox was arrested by immigration agents at her home in Quezon City on Monday for allegedly violating the conditions of her stay in the country, such as engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations.
Fox has a valid missionary visa until September 2018, and has been living in the Philippines for the past 27 years. She was released a day after.
Gatchalian said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) should exercise prudence and ensure accuracy in their actions because what happened to Fox may happen to any other tourist in the country.
“Dapat talagang siguraduhin natin dahil mga bisita natin ito at bilang mga bisita, mahirap naman nag-aaresto tayo na mali pala ang impormasyon (They are visitors to our country and it is embarrassing to arrest someone based on wrong information),” he said at a Senate Forum.
The senator, however, reminded tourists to follow the country’s laws and should refrain from participating in political activities during their stay.
“They should respect that because that’s part of our sovereignty,” he said, adding that foreigners can promote their advocacies, but they must respect the laws of the land.
Gatchalian admitted that he felt bad when he saw the photo of the missionary in the news. He said he believes that Fox is in the country to help the poor. Unfortunately, she was arrested because of wrong information. /ee
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