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'Not even one centavo' for bail of priest charged with trafficking — CBCP official

A high-ranking church official said the Catholic Church did not pay for the bail of the priest, who allegedly solicited sex with a 13 year-old girl, according to a post on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

"Not even one centavo," Archbishop Oscar Cruz was quoted as saying.

Cruz, the head of the Church's clergy dispensation office, was referring to 55-year-old Msgr. Arnel Lagarejos, who was arrested on Friday night in an entrapment operation while he was about to enter a motel with the girl.

Lagarejos, who is facing criminal charges for violating RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, posted a bail bond of P120,000 on Tuesday.

Cruz said priests accused of any criminal offense are responsible for their own legal expenses.

Archbishop Cruz added that it was the priest's family that raised the money for the bail bond.

The prelate also said he does not believe that Lagarejos will leave the country.

"Humanly speaking that is what I know. He is not in a physical condition to do so," he said. "He is not feeling well."

“He is now in a private house resting because he feels exhausted,” Cruz added.

Cruz has been assigned to head the CBCP's probe into the case of Lagarejos, who has been suspended and relieved of his duties as parish priest and as school president.

The Diocese of Antipolo issued a statement on Monday saying they will not shield Lagarejos.

"The diocese makes it clear that it will not in any way condone or abet the trafficking or persons, nor protect the offenders from prosecution, and subsequent trial and punishment when the evidence so warrants," Antipolo Bishop Francis de Leon said, according to a post on the CBCP website. — BAP/KVD, GMA News