Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Sister Patricia Fox pose with other participants at the Women on Fire Forum at Adamson University in Manila on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Photo from a video by CATHY MIRANDA / INQUIRER.net)
“Is it wrong to fight for what you love? Do you have a shameful mouth when all you say are inspiring words for the oppressed?” Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asked as she tried to describe the plight of Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox.
Fox and Sereno were the guest speakers on Tuesday at the Women on Fire Forum at Adamson University in Manila.
Resorting to free verse poetry in Filipino, Sereno expressed what she thought of the 71-year old land reform and peasant rights advocate.
“Minamasdan kita, Sister Pat. Maputi. Bente siyete taong nabilad sa araw sa Pilipinas ang balat mo, hindi pa rin kayumanggi. At minsan winawari ko: Ano nga ba ang kaibahan ng iyong sitwasyon sa karamihang kababaihan? Lahat ng nanay, ate, anak naghihimagsikan upang iahon ang kanilang mahal sa buhay sa kahirapan,” Sereno said.
[I look at you, Sister Pat. White. For 27 years your skin exposed to the Philppine sun and yet still not brown. And sometimes I wonder: What makes your situation so different from that of many other women? All mothers, eldest sisters, daughters are fighting a war to lift their loved from poverty.]
Sereno said Sister Fox, like all other mothers, took care of the oppressed like her child by providing spiritual assistance and giving them hope.
The Chief Justice said she was looking for similarities between her and Sister Fox.
She said they were both shamed in public.
“Hiniya ka. Masama daw ang iyong bibig. Tinitingnan ko ang iyong bibig. Nagtu-toothbrush ka naman po,” Sereno said in jest.
[You were shamed. Your mouth supposedly foul. I’m looking at your mouth and I see that you brush your teeth.]
How can Fox have a foul mouth, Sereno wondered, when all she had been talking about weas love for the people, human rights and protecting the poor?
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has cancelled the missionary visa of Sister Fox and ordered her to leave the country within 30 days. But Sister Fox said the BI was still holding her passport.
She caught the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte after he had received information that she joined protesting workers of a softdrink company in Davao City last month.
Fox said she was not the type who would run around campaigning.
“We need to get out of the political realm,” she said, and look at the policies that affect the people. /atm
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