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Marikina cop sacked for bungled case vs priest

MANILA, Philippines - A police officer was relieved for allegedly mishandling the case against a priest accused of soliciting a minor for sex, an official said yesterday.

Chief Inspector Melanie Redon, head of the Marikina police’s women and child protection desk (WCPD), has been put on floating status, said Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, Eastern Police District director.

Redon’s first offense was not including in her report a handgun seized from Msgr. Arnel Lagarejos during his arrest on July 28, Sapitula said.

While Redon was coordinating with the city government’s social welfare office on the fate of Lagarejos’ 13-year-old victim, she allegedly told SWO personnel not to talk to her superior, city police chief Senior Superintendent Roger Quesada, according to Sapitula.

“Redon was a former head of the civil relations unit of the local police and her transfer to the WCPD was a demotion for her so she has an ax to grind against her superior officer,” Sapitula said in an interview.

Mayor Marcelino Teodoro also called for Redon’s relief after Lagarejos’ handgun and mobile phone were reported to be missing.

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He said the mobile phone – which he found out had been returned to Lagarejos – would show the text messages between the priest and the girl’s 16-year-old pimp.

Teodoro said the city government would ask for a reinvestigation of the case after the city prosecutor’s office allowed Lagarejos to post P120,000 bail but denied bail to the pimp.

Lagarejos is facing charges of use of a trafficked person under Republic Act 9208 or the anti-trafficking in persons law.

The priest was arrested along with the pimp after the girl’s mother filed a complaint before the Marikina police’s WCPD.

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