AT the very outset, let me be clear about my stand on the controversy surrounding the arrest of Australian nun, Sr. Patricia Fox. It was an unjustified and misplaced defense of sovereignty that the government would do well to apologize for.
For how can a frail old nun possibly be a threat to the nation’s security or sovereignty? She was the wrong person to use to remind foreigners that we are no longer a colony and cannot be told what to do in our nation’s domestic affairs. Bulls..ting self-righteous EU parliamentarians, UN rapporteurs and ICC investigators is more than ample assertion of our independence as a sovereign nation.
Having said that, I’d like to move on to what I see are possible indictments Sr. Patricia’s case is making on some people. The first to be indicted, of course, is the Duterte administration for “using” of all people an old pro-poor nun to warn foreigners that we are not tolerating any undue interference in the ways we conduct our nation’s affairs.
Next to be indicted is Bayan whose rallies Sr. Patricia joined. What is a nun doing with a group that is ideologically aligned with the CPP-NPA? She cannot possibly be a communist so she must be “used” by Bayan to give its rallies a semblance of Christian concern for the poor. Bayan misleads in condemning her arrest as a stifling of dissent. If it were, why were Bayan local speakers not arrested? Why only the foreigner?
Also indicted is the CBCP or Catholic hierarchy. Sr. Patricia could be joining and speaking in Bayan protest rallies because there are no distinctively Catholic groups working actively to defend and promote the rights of indigenous peoples. As non-communistic as a Catholic nun can be, why would she join Bayan rallies if there were equally vocal and aggressive Catholic groups promoting the rights of lumads?
The CBCP, unabashed arch-enemy of communism, is further indicted for implicitly sanctioning Bayan in using Sr. Patricia’s engagement with it to hit back at their stinging critic, President Duterte. I remember how so many bishops bowed to Marcos and implicitly agreed with him that the priests and nuns he imprisoned, tortured or killed were communists. If this is not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.
Last but not least, the political opposition is indicted for fomenting foreign intervention to advance their partisan political agenda.
As head of the family I have the absolute right to decide who I allow into my house and who I do not. Collectively as a nation we have the same right vis-à-vis foreigners. Duterte’s mistake is to assert this right by picking on a frail old nun who cannot be a terrorist by any stretch of the imagination. He should instead hit on the ones “using” her.