Church didn't shoulder Taytay priest's P120,000 bail
MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church said it did not shoulder the P120,000 ($2,380) bail of trafficking suspect Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos, who gained temporary freedom after 3 days in jail.
Father Lawrence Paz, media director of the Diocese of Antipolo, told Rappler on Wednesday, August 2, that their diocese did not pay for Lagarejos' bail. It was Lagarejos' friends who did, Paz said.
Paz also said that the Diocese of Antipolo did not provide a lawyer for Lagarejos. The suspect belongs to the Diocese of Antipolo.
Lagarejos, 55, faces a human trafficking case after police caught him in an entrapment operation last Friday evening, July 28. He had allegedly "booked" a 13-year-old girl for sex.
The monsignor posted bail on Tuesday, August 1, after spending 3 days in the Marikina City police jail.
His case is set to be raffled off to a Marikina court on Thursday, August 3.
Aside from this case, Lagarejos is also the subject of a parallel church investigation led by retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz. (READ: Church vows no cover-up in Taytay priest's case)
In a phone interview with Rappler on Wednesday, Cruz said that neither did the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) shoulder the monsignor's bail.
"Never," said Cruz, a former CBCP president himself.
Bishop: Lagarejos from rich family
Cruz explained, "'Pagkat 'pag nagkasala ang isang tao, pagkatapos eh nahuli 'pagkat ang pagkakasala ay merong criminal liability, pipiyansahan mo pa, masyado namang binubuwenas."
(Because if the person committed a misdeed, and he was caught as the misdeed comes with a criminal liability, if you would shoulder the bail despite this, that person is being too lucky.)
"Wala, hindi magpipiyansa ang CBCP at hindi rin magpipiyansa ang diocese, basta gano'n ang mga pagkakasala ng isang pari," said Cruz, an 83-year-old canon lawyer who has criticized abuses within the Catholic Church.
(No, the CBCP will not shoulder the bail, and neither will the diocese, if this is the priest's kind of misdeed.)
Besides, Cruz said, Lagarejos reportedly comes from a rich family.
"Marami silang pera, mayaman, kaya nga ang kotse niya, maganda," Cruz said. (They have lots of money, they are rich, that's why he has a nice car.)
Until the Diocese of Antipolo relieved him of his posts, Lagarejos was president of the Cainta Catholic College and parish priest of Saint John the Baptist Parish in Poblacion, Taytay, Rizal.
Lagarejos is now prohibited "from having contact with all but his lawyer, his brother-priests, and church authorities," the Diocese of Antipolo said.
He, too, "is particularly forbidden from any communication with minors and from maintaining company with them in any way whatsoever." – Rappler.com
P50.33 = $1