A 55-year-old priest in Marikina City for allegedly attempting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

In an entrapment operation, Eastern Police District operatives nabbed Monseigneur Arnel Lagarejos, who is assigned in Marikina and Rizal, and a 16-year-old boy from San Mateo, Rizal who was named as the girl's alleged pimp.

Lagarejos faces charges for violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which includes penalties for receiving a person for prostitution or sexual exploitation.

Meanwhile, the boy is under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The initial investigation showed that the boy booked the girl, an out-of-school youth, for Lagarejos.

The girl then told her mother what happened, with both of them reporting the planned meeting to authorities at 4 p.m. on July 28.

Later that day, Lagarejos met the boy and the girl in his gray Ford Explorer. Police said the boy got P500 from the priest before leaving the girl with him in the car.

At around 6:30 p.m. on July 28, authorities moved in as Lagarejos and the girl were heading to a motel.

Police said the priest tried to pull out his gun, but operatives were already aiming their weapons at him.

The Diocese of Antipolo said in a July 29 statement that it is also looking into the matter.

"We assure the public that we respect the necessary procedures as provided by law in order to further investigate the matter," the diocese said. "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."

Ta-a said it was the DSWD that first found out that the victim, an out-of-school youth from Marikina City, was being pimped.

This was after the victim opened up to the DSWD. At that time, the victim had been taken in DSWD custody for breaking the city curfew.

"Nagkuwento 'yung bata sa DSWD na parang involved siya together with her friends doon sa parang ibinu-booking sila ng kaibigan nilang bakla (The child told the DSWD that she is involved, together with her friends, in being "booked" by their gay friend)," Ta-a said in a phone interview Saturday evening.

When the DSWD learned about this, the social workers met with the victim's parents. At that time, Ta-a said, the girl's Facebook (FB) messenger account was also opened.

"Tamang tama, noong nabuksan ang FB, meron na namang nagpapa-booking (Coincidentally, when her FB account was opened, someone was having her booked again)," Ta-a said.

This was when they tried to trap the 16-year-old pimp.

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