MANILA -- Malacanang on Wednesday said “apologies are in order” for Patricia Fox, the 71-year-old Australian nun who was arrested on Monday over supposed partisan political activities.

Roque said there must have been a "mistake" in the case of Fox, however noted that there was a law prohibiting all foreigners to participate in any form of political gatherings in the country.

Fox, a human rights advocate, has denied allegation that she had been involved in partisan political activities, saying she only visited farmer-detainees in Tagum City.

The Australian missionary’s detention happened one day after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) denied entry to Party of European Socialists (PES) deputy secretary-general Giacomo Filibeck.

Filibeck reportedly flew to the country to attend a congress organized by opposition political party Akbayan.

Upon his arrival at Mactan Cebu International Airport last Sunday, Filibeck was detained and deported for supposedly joining partisan political activities in the Philippines.

Roque defended the BI’s action, saying that the law prohibits a foreigner to participate in a political gathering in the country.

“There is clear basis that this European socialist came here to participate in a political convention that is prohibited by our law. We have the power to deny his entry,” Roque said.

In a separate interview with Radyo Pilipinas, Roque said Filibeck should instead go and speak in conflict-torn countries like Syria and Sudan.

“He should go to Syria and speak there and not here in our country,” Roque said.

According to BI, Filibeck has been blacklisted since 2017 when he joined a partisan political event. (PNA)