Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox speaks to the press during her release from detention at the Immigration headquarters in Manila yesterday, a day after she was arrested.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier recounted that immigration officers arrested Fox at her residence at Project 2, Quezon City and later brought her to the agency for "a random checking and verification of her immigration papers and status".
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Sister Fox "is too old to run from the government or from whatever allegations they are accusing her of" and called her arrest a "form of persecution and harassment". "You don't have the right to criticize me", the President added.
The immigration bureau confirmed the Fox's arrest but declined to issue any statement until after the investigation is complete.
His words came as he was attending a change of command ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
A day after justifying the Bureau of Immigration's (BI) arrest order against Fox, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. admitted that the bureau may have falsely charged the Australian nun. "Bakit hindi ka magyakyak doon (Why don't you say something about it)?" the President asked.
He also claimed his bloody war on drugs "paled in comparison" to the violations of Australia.
"You Left, do not ever, ever invite - I will never allow them in the country".
In BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 dated July 3, 2015, foreigners are prohibited from engaging in political activities in the country.
"Mukhang nagkamali dito kay Sister Fox at siguro (It seems that there was a mistake in the case of Sister Fox and maybe) apologies are in order, kasi madali naman siyang pinalabas din ng (because she was immediately released by) CID [Commission on Immigration and Deportation] 'no. So perhaps, there's a mistake on the part of the (BI)", he added.
Commissioner Jaime Morente approved the recommendation of the BI legal division for the Catholic nun to be released for further investigation after establishing that she is a holder of a valid missionary visa, which proved that she is a properly documented alien.
The BI had originally accused the nun of "engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations".
"I haven't joined political rallies in terms of party politics, but I have been active in human rights issues", she said.
Filibeck was part of the PES mission that visited the country in October 2017 and condemned the rising drug-related deaths linked to the Duterte administration's brutal crackdown on illegal drugs.