MALACAÑANG on Monday, November 5, hit back at Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox, saying there is no "reign of terror and tyranny" but a "reign of fear" among lawbreakers.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo belied Fox's allegation that there was a "reign of terror and tyranny" in the Philippines amid President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal crackdown on illegal drugs.
Fox was compelled to leave the Philippines on November 3 after losing her legal battle to stop her deportation,
"Perhaps, what she refers to is a reign of fear on the part of those who violate the law. They know for a fact that there is a reign of strict enforcement of the law against violators of the law," Panelo said in a press conference on Monday.
"There is a reign of fear in the minds and hearts of those violators because they know that the law is running after them," he added.
Panelo also branded Fox's allegation as a "classic case of an unappreciative tourist who saw nothing good and complained about the country, which graciously extended its hospitality."
Denying Fox's claim, Panelo said the Duterte's administration "continues to adhere to the rule of law."
"The President follows the command of the Constitution for him to enforce the laws of the land regardless of who is involved. Let no person, therefore, take lightly the President's duty to serve and protect the people," he said.
Fox, 71, spent almost three decades in the Philippines working with Filipino laborers, farmers and urban poor.
She, however, left the country on Saturday, November 3, after the Bureau of Immigration ordered her to be deported, on the ground that she was allegedly joining political activities against the Duterte government.
Upon her arrival in Melbourne on Sunday, November 4, Fox reportedly said a "reign of terror and tyranny" currently prevails in the Philippines as human rights abuses have continued to worsen under Duterte's watch.
Panelo said that while the government was "thankful" for Fox's acts of goodwill, she could not be spared from the "punishment imposed by law."
"She was a violator, that's precisely why she deported from this country. But that is not to say we're not thankful of her services. We 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.
"As we said, all foreigners who stay and sojourn this country do not have political rights, and that includes the freedom of expression. They cannot be joining rallies and join the mass action and speak against the government. They cannot do that. They should be first become citizens of the land to enjoy such rights," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)