“It was upon my orders. I ordered her to be investigated … for disorderly conduct,” said Duterte.
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, has said that he was personally responsible for the arrest of an Australian Catholic nun for engaging in political activities, according to a report in The Guardian.
Sister Patricia Fox, age 71, and a longtime resident of the Philippines, was arrested and released without charges the next day.
In a speech to soldiers on Wednesday, Duterte said that he ordered the arrest.
“It was not the military who arrested the nun. It was upon my orders. I ordered her to be investigated … for disorderly conduct,” said Duterte, according to the Guardian report.
Prior to her arrest, Fox, a missionary of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, was investigating the treatment of farmers and indigenous people on the southern island of Mindanao, which is under martial law.
Referring to Fox, Duterte said, “You insult me under the cloak of being a Catholic priest, and you are a foreigner! Who are you? It is a violation of sovereignty.”
Following her release, Fox told Manila’s ABS-CBN, ““I haven’t been engaged [in] party politics.”
Duterte has cracked down on political dissent in his country and warned that foreigners who “malign and defame” his government would be subject to arrest.
He told the soldiers he personally instructed authorities to keep foreign critics out of the country: “Don’t let her in because that nun has a shameless mouth.”
The New York Times reported that Fox is expected to face deportation proceedings next week. The day before her arrest Giacomo Filibeck, an Italian official with the Party of European Socialists was deported. Filibeck is a critic of Duterte’s drug war in which thousands have been killed.