Disgraced priest who booked minor wants CHR abolished

PARIII

RIZAL, Philippines – Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos who was recently arrested by operatives after booking a 13-year old girl expressed to the media today that he wants the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) abolished.

Addressing the press at his home in Taytay after he posted bail, Lagarejos said, “Hindi na tama ang moralidad ng CHR. They cry foul when there is a more important issue to be addressed.”

Related: Priest nabbed in Marikina for allegedly attempting to have sex with 13-year-old girl

Related: CHR: Duterte admin ‘encouraged deepening of impunity’

Asked if his comment has something to do with his impending child trafficking case, he said, “Matagal ko nang campaign ito kasi noon a man suportado ko na ang ginagawa ni Duterte. Nagkataon lang ngayon at malakas kasi may issue nga ako kay Ineng.”

Gabriela, in a recent phone interview, expressed their dismay that the priest would try to cover up the gravity of his crime with this diversion of attack to the CHR. Gabriela spokesperson Kaye Brosas said, “Ngiii. Nagkaluka-loka na nga. Haller! Humanap ka na lang sana ng kaedad mo tulad ni Maegan Aguilar, at bata pa biniktima mo.”  The 50-year old priest cannot be reached for a follow up comment.

In the press briefing, Lagarejos also attacked the anti-child trafficking watchdog JusticePedia [Editor’s note: pedia is from the Greek word paedia meaning children], a non-government company whose campaign made them one of the top watchdogs of the United Nations on issues of child trafficking. Lagarejos remard, “Yang pedia, pedia na JusticePedia na yan, binibigyan pa namin yan ng offering galing sa simbahan tapos hindi man lang tumutulong sa akin. Bagkus magrarally pa laban sa akin.”

Lagarejos was referring to an event where three other anti-child trafficking watchdogs are now organizing along with JusticePedia to pressure the government for the immediate verdict on Lagarejos. These three  Children HealthPedia, ProtectPedia International and Wikipedia are planning to stage a rally in the next few weeks. Wikipedia said in a statement, “Human trafficking and the prostitution of children is a significant issue in the Philippines, often controlled by organized crime syndicates. Human Trafficking in the Philippines is a crime against humanity. In an effort to deal with the problem, the Philippines passed R.A. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.”

Lina Labran, RRN Philippines Correspondent

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