The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday started its preliminary investigation on the qualified trafficking complaint against the priest accused of soliciting sex from a 13-year-old girl.
Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos was a no-show at the closed-door hearing called by Assistant State Prosecutor Karla Cabel regarding the two counts of qualified trafficking filed by “Anna” and her mother “‘Marie” last September 4.
The priest, however, was represented by a lawyer, according to the complainants’ counsel from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
Representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also attended the hearing.
Lagarejos and his four co-respondents were given five days to submit their respective counter affidavits. The next hearing was set for September 22.
Lagarejos, who is now under the government’s immigration lookout bulletin, was arrested at a motel in Marikina City on July 28 while in the company of the victim, who was allegedly pimped by a 16-year-old friend.
The priest has already been removed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines from his post at St. John the Baptist Parish in Taytay, Rizal and as president of the Cainta Catholic College.