Monsignor Arnel Lagarejo was arrested in the Philippines on Friday during a joint operation by police and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) after the child’s mother contacted authorities.
Lagarejos, 55, was stripped of his duties as parish priest of St. John The Baptist Parish and as president of Cainta Catholic College, while as an investigation is being conducted.
The priest, president of Cainta Catholic College and parish priest of St. John The Baptist, faces charges of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
Eastern Police District Director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula said Lagarejos found the 16-year-old pimp on social media, reports PhilStar.
The Diocese of Antipolo issued a statement noting the seriousness of the incident and expressing its willingness to cooperate with investigating authorities. It confirmed that Lagarejos has been relieved of all of his duties in the diocese.
Lagarejos is also “forbidden from having contact with all but his lawyer, his brother-priests, and church authorities. He is particularly forbidden from any communication with minors and from maintaining company with them in any way whatsoever.”
The diocese said it does “not in any way condone or abet the trafficking in persons, particularly of minors, nor protect the offenders from prosecution, and subsequent trial and punishment when evidence so warrants.”