Palace on Sister Fox's remarks: No reign of terror and tyranny in Philippines
There is no reign of terror and tyranny in the Philippines, Malacanang said on Monday in response to the remarks of Australian nun Patricia Fox.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Fox's statement was a "classic case of an inappreciative tourist who saw nothing good and complained about the country which graciously extended its hospitality."
Fox, who left the Philippines for Australia Saturday night after the Duterte administration refused to further extend her stay in the country, has slammed President Rodrigo Duterte's "reign of terror" and "of tyranny."
Due to Duterte's war on drugs, she has accused that human rights abuses in the Philippines were increasing.
Debunking Fox's accusation, Panelo said, "There is only a reign of fear in the minds and hearts of those who violated the law."
He said the violators were terrified that the law is finally running after them.
In a press briefing, he said Fox was a "violator" of the laws and this was precisely the reason why she departed the Philippines.
"But that is not to say that we are not thankful of her services. As we have said, we are grateful for the good deeds she has performed. But that will not exempt her from the punishment imposed by law arising from violations of the same," he said.
Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, said that Fox, as foreigner, has no political rights, such as joining rallies and mass actions and speak against the government.
"They cannot do that. They should be first become citizens of the land to enjoy such rights," he said.
The Palace issued before a photo of the Australian nun holding a microphone in a labor rally in Davao City, the home town of Duterte.
Panelo said Fox's departure from the Philippines should be a warning to other foreigners.
"We said that the departure of Sister Fox is a timely reminder for those foreigners who come here that they do not enjoy the same political rights as the citizens of the land," he said.
Contrary to Fox's remarks, Panelo said what the Philippines has is "a reign of strict enforcement of the laws."
Citing the latest Social Weather Stations survey, he said that close to eight of ten Filipinos believe that the country is on the right direction.
"Another survey pointed out that a sizeable majority of Filipinos, 69%, acknowledge the efforts of the current administration to eradicate the problem of illegal drugs in the country as its most important achievement. These figures immediately repudiate Sister Fox’s misplaced, if not offensive, remarks towards our country," he said.
Panelo insisted that the Duterte government continues to adhere to the rule of law.
Duterte also follows the Constitution, which mandates him to enforce the laws of the land regardless of who is involved, he said.
"Let no person, therefore, take lightly the President's duty to serve and protect the people," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS