Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that he personally ordered the arrest of a 71-year-old Australian nun Monday on suspicion of political activity.
Duterte made the claim during a speech to soldiers on Wednesday and said that he, not the military, had Sister Patricia Fox arrested by the immigration bureau on Monday for “disorderly conduct” and insulting him, according to The Guardian. Fox was investigating the Philippine military’s treatment of locals on the island of Mindanao, which is under martial law, prior to her arrest, according to Aleteia.
“It was not the military who arrested the nun. It was upon my orders. I ordered her to be investigated … for disorderly conduct,” Duterte said, according to The Guardian.
Duterte then directly addressed Fox, cursing her for allegedly maligning him.
“You insult me under the cloak of being a Catholic priest, and you are a foreigner! Who are you? It is a violation of sovereignty,” Duterte said.
Duterte had intended to instruct immigration officials to make sure not to let her into the country because “that nun has a shameless mouth,” he told the soldiers. Fox, however, was released Tuesday after being detained for one day. She maintained that she was innocent of any “party politics,” but believed she was arrested because of her opposition to policies that, in her view, harm poor Filipinos.
She has participated, for instance, in rallies against the deaths caused by Duterte’s militant crackdown on drugs.
“I have been doing this here for the past 27 years and this was the first time I have been arrested,” Fox said, according to The New York Times. “I think that the president admitted that he ordered my arrest is pretty scary, but I have a lot of support from the Catholic Church hierarchy.”
Fox is expected to face deportation proceedings in the coming week, according to The NYT. Her arrest and the deportation proceedings to follow are only the latest instances of Duterte critics facing prosecution and deportation. Philippine officials deported Giacomo Filibeck, an Italian official in the Party of European Socialists and outspoken critic of Duterte’s drug war, the day before Fox’s arrest.
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