Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte personally ordered the investigation of a 71-year-old Australian nun for being an 'undesirable foreigner'

Noel Celis/AFP/Getty ImagesPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he ordered an Australian nun be detained and investigated.
  • The 71-year-old nun was detained on Monday after taking part in human rights missions that the country deemed violated the country’s sovereignty.
  • Duterte also called out Australia, saying that its citizens should should reflect on their country’s own alleged human rights records before looking into his.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken full responsibility for the temporary detention and investigation into an Australian nun as the leader continues to crack down on what he calls “undesirable foreigners.”

Duterte said he ordered the investigation into “disorderly conduct” by the 71-year-old nun. Sister Patricia Fox, the coordinator of a congregation of nuns called Notre Dame de Sion, was detained on Monday after taking part in fact-finding human rights missions focusing on indigenous people’s rights in Mindanao, Reuters said.

“It was upon my orders, implemented by the Borough of Investigation, and I take full responsibility, legal or otherwise, for this incident,” said Duterte said Wednesday at an army ceremony, according to Rappler.

Fox, who has served as a missionary in the Philippines for 27 years, was taken from her home and detained by immigration services for nearly 24 hours, Reuters added.

She was released Tuesday when it was confirmed that she had a valid missionary visa and had not violated immigration law. Officials are still investigating her circumstances to determine if she should be deported, Rappler reported.

The Philippine strongman claimed Fox made disparaging remarks about the government in “violation of sovereignty.”

“Don’t let her in because that nun has no shame,” Duterte said, according to Rappler.

Duterte also called out Australia, saying its citizens should should reflect on their country’s alleged human rights records before looking into his.

“Nun, why don’t you criticise your own government, the way you handled the refugees hungry and dying, and you turned them back to the open sea?” said Duterte, adding his bloody war on drugs, which rights groups claimed has killed over 12,000, could not be compared to Australia.

“At least it is criminals I order killed, how about you?” Duterte stated.

Fox has defended her activism, and refuted claims she engaged in anti-government displays.

“I haven’t joined political rallies in terms of party politics, but I have been active in human rights issues,” Fox has said, according to Rappler.

The Philippines deported a record number of foreigners last year, according to Philippine TV network GMA. More than 1,500 foreign nationals, nearly than four times the number in 2016, were deported for “violating” the country’s immigration laws and for participating in activities it says were counter to its national interest.

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