BI ‘has no right’ to define, limit my missionary works – Sister Fox
In her formal response to the deportation case against her, Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) “has no right” to limit her religious works in the country.
The 71-year old nun pointed out that allowing BI intelligence officer Melody Penelope Gonzales, even the bureau itself, to define the scope of her missionary work would be a violation of the Constitution.
“With due respect, Agent Gonzales conducted a sloppy investigation and intelligence work and made malicious, sweeping and erroneous assumption and conclusion of facts and law in stating that what I did was beyond the limits of my missionary and apostolate works,” Fox said in her 26-page counter affidavit filed on Friday.
“She has no right to define and delimit what constitute the apostolate and missionary works of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, a religious corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” she also stressed.
Citing Section 5, Article III or the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution, Fox asserted that “no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
“The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights,” she noted.
While she was not a Filipino, Fox argued that the constitutional provision was “applicable to all, both foreigner and Filipino citizen alike.”
“This has been the consistent ruling of the Philippine Supreme Court since early 1920 up to the advent of the 1987 Constitution,” the Australian missionary said.
“Hence, my right to the exercise of religious freedom and worship in the Philippines, which also include the free exercise and performance of apostolate and missionary works, are also protected by the Bill of Rights guaranteed under Philippine Constitution,” Sister Fox also said. /kga
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