President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday took the full legal responsibility for the arrest of Australian nun Patricia Fox for “a disorderly conduct”.
“It was upon my orders implemented by the Bureau of Immigration and I take full responsibility legal or otherwise for this incident,” Duterte said in his speech during the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Change of Command ceremony at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Duterte said he ordered the 71-year-old Catholic nun to be investigated “not deported at once, not arrested but to invite her to an investigation for a disorderly conduct.”
He said he can take all the criticisms and the attacks from all the citizens of the country but not from a foreigner who “insult my country”.
“While I’m here, do not insult my country. Because you come here and go, you thought…we never did that to Australia. We never did that to European countries,” Duterte said.
The President said Fox should instead criticize her own government in Australia the way it handle the refugees “hungry and dying and you turned them back to the open sea.”
“You are too presumptuous about looking at the Filipinos. You have much worst human rights violations. Here, I kill criminals, how about you?,” Duterte said.
“Men, women and children seeking sanctuary. Under the heat of the sun and in the coldness of the night. You drove them back to where they came from and you know that they were also being rejected from the country which they were trying to flee,” he added.
Fox was ordered arrested and temporarily detained on April 16 after the BI evidence showed the Australian nun “wrongfully engaged in political activity” in Davao City on April 7 this year.
The Australian nun claimed she only visited farmer-detainees in Tagum City.
Last Tuesday, the BI released Fox “for further investigation after it was established that the Australian nun holds a valid missionary visa and, thus, she is a properly documented alien”.
“The only reason why she was released was she was not caught in flagrante delicto. Meaning to say she was not caught berating the government,” Duterte said.
Duterte also called on the communists not to “ever try to invite” their foreign counterparts who violate the Philippine laws.
“If they decide to enter surreptitiously, they will be arrested. But if you come here, just deliver your piece about human rights in the proper way,” he said.
The President made his appeal after Party of European Socialists (PES) deputy secretary-general Giacomo Filibeck was detained and deported on April 15 for joining partisan political activities in the Philippines.
Filibeck reportedly flew to the country to attend a convention organized by Akbayan, a democratic socialist political party in the Philippines.
“You come here and insult us, you trample with our sovereignty. That will never happen. I assure you: if you begin to malign, defame government in any of those rallies there, I will order your arrest,” Duterte said.
“I have a duty to protect this country,” Duterte said.
He, however, guaranteed the Filipino nation that he will never become a dictator nor extend his term “even for 22 hours.” PNA