A Catholic priest pulled a gun on police after being discovered at a motel with a 13-year-old girl.
Monseigneur Arnel Fuentes Lagarejos, aged 55, was caught during a crackdown on children being pimped via social media in Marikina City yesterday (Friday, July 28).
Officers said they were “shocked” to discover a priest involved in the crime.
The priest’s superior today issued a statement, urging parishioners to “pray that the truth may come out”.
Antipolo Bishop, Francisco de Leon, wrote: “The Diocese of Antipolo is looking into the matter involving the arrest of Monseigneur Arnel Fuentes Lagarejos as allegedly identified as a suspect in an entrapment operation in Marikina City.
“Thus, we assure the public that we respect the necessary procedures as provided by law in order to further investigate the matter.
“Let us refrain from issuing unnecessary comments that might worsen the situation.
“Instead we appeal for all the faithful to pray that the truth may come out.”
The sting operation was a joint operation by the police and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and triggered by a tip-off from the girl’s mother.
According to a report by ABS-CBN News, the ‘monsignor’ negotiated through social media with a pimp, who is believed to be a 16-year-old boy.
Lagarejos and the minors agreed to meet at the Blue Wave Mall in Marikina City.
Lagarejos was then followed as he drove his Ford Explorer to the hotel where police pounced at about 6.30pm.
To their surprise, Lagarejos tried to draw a gun but was quickly subdued before he could fire.
Lagarejos is a president of the Cainta Catholic College in Rizal and has often spoken out on the issue of reproductive rights.
According to his LinkedIn account, he holds a Doctorate in Moral Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
The 13-year-old and the pimp are now in the custody of the DSWD.
The priest faces charges under Republic Act 9208 anti-trafficking in persons act.