An Australian nun who had criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies, including his brutal war on drugs, began her flight home from the Philippines on Saturday, more than six months after the president ordered her arrest and deportation.
The nun, Sister Patricia Fox, 71, who has worked in the Philippines for almost 30 years, had exhausted all legal means to fight her expulsion from the country. She attended her last Mass at St. Joseph’s Church in Manila before leaving for the airport, accompanied by a motorcade of supporters.
She was expected to land in Melbourne on Sunday morning.
“I will continue to seek justice for the victims and do all I can to support the people’s struggle for true peace based on justice,” Sister Fox said.
She added that she bore Mr. Duterte no ill will, but wished that he would consider the plight of the “poor and the small people, not just the military and business people.”
Sister Fox has long been involved in political and social activism in the Philippines, and since Mr. Duterte took office in 2016 she has spoken out repeatedly against his drug war, which has left thousands of mostly poor Filipinos dead at the hands of police officers or vigilantes.
Mr. Duterte cited such criticism in April when he said he had ordered the Bureau of Immigration to arrest and deport the nun. “You are a foreigner, who are you?” he said. “You do not have the right to criticize us. Do not insult us every time you open your mouth.”
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SOURCE: NY Times, Jason Gutierrez