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No VIP treatment for priest arrested with minor in Marikina

July 31, 2017 ·  By INQUIRER.net for newsinfo.inquirer.net

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Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos (covered in black jacket) is escorted out of the Marikina City Prosecutor’s Office after he was charged with violation of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act on Saturday, July 29, 2017. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / JODEE AGONCILLO

Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos (covered in black jacket) is escorted out of the Marikina City Prosecutor’s Office after he was charged with violation of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act on Saturday, July 29, 2017. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / JODEE AGONCILLO

The priest arrested last Friday while allegedly on his way to a motel with a 13-year-old girl is being kept with ordinary detainees at the Marikina police headquarters, radio reports said.

Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos, 55, of the Diocese of Antipolo, spent Saturday til Sunday morning at the Marikina City jail after going through inquest proceedings for trafficking in persons.

While no VIP treatment was being accorded to the priest, security was tight with police strictly screening his visitors and preventing media from speaking to him, according to a report of radio dzMM.

Radio reports said colleagues of Lagarejos had been constantly visiting him since his arrest early Friday night near Blue Wave Mall along Sumulong Highway in Marikina City.

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He had just allegedly picked up the girl from a 16-year-old gay “pimp” and was on his way with the girl to a motel when stopped by police.

On Sunday before dawn, the lawyer of Lagarejos whom police identified as “Atty. Joseph Estrada” reportedly visited and talked to the priest at the jail.

While the priest was charged with violating the Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act, the alleged pimp was set free because he was a minor.

Earlier reports said Lagarejos yielded a gun during his arrest but he has so far not been cited for any offense related to a firearm.

The Diocese of Antipolo released a statement on its Facebook page regarding the arrest of Lagarejos.

“We respect the necessary procedures as provided by law in order to further investigate the matter,” the diocese said.

It appealed to the public to “refrain from issuing unnecessary comments that might worsen the situation.”

The diocese also appealed “for all the faithful to pray that the truth may come out.” CBB

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