MANILA - The Australian government has begun looking into the arrest of a 71-year-old Australian missionary, who was detained for allegedly engaging in partisan political activities here, a former party-list lawmaker said Tuesday.
A representative from the Australian consulate had communicated with Sister Patricia Fox, whose detention on Monday “created an international reaction,” former congressman Satur Ocampo told reporters.
Ocampo visited Fox at her detention room before joining human rights acvitists who picketed in front of the Bureau of Immigration office in Manila to demand her release.
The Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See’s diplomatic mission here, had also been informed of the incident, Ocampo said.
"The Bureau of Immigration should be properly advised, to caution them against proceeding against Sister Pat na matagal na ritong nag-seserbisyo sa mga mahihirap (who has been here for a while, serving the poor)," he told reporters.
"It will create an international incident kung i-dedeport nila for the reason that supposedly, engaging in politics activities."
An immigration statement said Fox was detained after she was "reported to have violated the conditions of her stay by attending protest rallies and engaging in political activities."
Supporters said Fox had been a missionary in the Philippines for 27 years.
Ocampo said Fox was part of a fact-finding mission that looked into alleged human rights violations, specifically against farmers, in Mindanao last week.