Asia-Pacific

Australian nun wins appeal to stay in Philippines

Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox in Manila. Source: AAP

The Philippines' Department of Justice has nullified an order by the immigration bureau to expel an Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox.

The Philippines justice department has overturned an order for the deportation of Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox.

Justice Department Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday determined the cancellation of her missionary visa was without legal basis.

Fox, 71, from the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, was arrested on April 16 and detained for 22 hours for purportedly being involved in partisan political protests.

She was subsequently ordered to leave the Philippines by May 25, but Guevarra announced a reprieve on the day of the deadline pending a review of her case.

Her deportation was put on hold until Monday.

Sr Fox had claimed a lack of due process and denied that her involvement in human rights campaigns breached the terms of her missionary visa.

"What the Bureau of Immigration did in this case is beyond what the law provides, that is why it has to be struck down," Guevarra said.

The Australian nun, who grew up in Melbourne and obtained a law degree at the University of NSW in Sydney, has been a missionary in the Philippines since 1990.

The deportation bid against Sr Fox came amid a wider clampdown on critics of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.

A spokeswoman for Sr Fox said there was still a case to be pursued against the deportation order even though the revoking of her missionary visa had been cancelled.

"But for now, Sister Fox can stay in the Philippines," she said.

Sr Fox welcomed the decision.

"I will continue to fight the deportation case," she said.

"I want to stay here to work for the poor."

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