MANILA, Philippines - Police in Camarines Sur province are investigating the death of a priest, who allegedly went on a date with a 15-year-old girl before he was found dead last Wednesday morning.
Senior Superintendent Jonathan Ablang, Camarines Sur provincial police director, said the initial report he received was that Father Baltazar Acompañado Jr. died in his sleep and that that the priest may have committed suicide.
"May hawak-hawak na baril sa kanang kamay si Father Acompañado at may gunshot wound sa ulo, kaya lumalabas nag suicide siya (Father Acompañado has a gunshot wound in the head and he was holding a gun with his right hand, which indicates that he committed suicide)," Ablang said.
He, however, said that the suicide angle was not conclusive, based on the initial crime scene investigation by the Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office.
Acompañado, director of the Holy Rosary Preparatory Seminary and Archdiocesan Vocation, was found dead inside his room at the seminary's compound in San Jose town last Wednesday morning (July 28).
Mall date with 15-year-old girl
Ablang said that as the San Jose Police Station probed deeper into Acompañado's death, its investigators discovered that the priest went out with a 15-year-old girl last Tuesday.
He said police have arrested the girl's alleged pimp.
In an interview with ABS-CBN Bicol, the woman denied she was a pimp. She said the priest approached her and asked her to look for a girl who could accompany him to a mall in Naga City.
"HIndi naman ako bugaw. Nilapitan lang ako, pinakiusapan lang ako maghanap ng babae. Nasa bahay lang ako, tumutulong minsan sa sakahan (I'm not a pimp. The priest approached me and asked me to look for a girl for him. I'm usually at home and sometimes helps in the farm)," the woman claimed.
She said that the 15-year-old girl immediately agreed when she asked her if she could accompany the priest to Naga City.
"Sabi sa akin, oo, kasi kailangan niya ng pera (The girl agreed because she said she needed the money)," he added.
The alleged pimp also told ABS-CBN News that the priest tipped her P500 for finding him a girl.
The girl's parents refused to be interviewed.
"Basta sa police na lang kayo magtanong. Kawawa naman ang anak ko, kinse anyos lang ganyan na ang nangyari (You should just ask the police. You should pity my daughter, she's only 15 and yet she already had this kind of experience)," the girl's mother said.
The priest and the girl allegedly returned to San Jose town on Tuesday night.
In a statement released by Archbishop Leonardo Legazpi on Thursday, he said that Acompañado was "a good and dedicated priest."
Legazpi said Acompañado first served as parochial vicar of St. John the Evangelist Church in Naga City in 2003 and professor of the preparatory seminary before he was appointed rector.
The archbishop announced that Acompañado's remains lie in state at the Good Sheperd Chapel at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City.
A concelebrated funeral Mass will be offered on Saturday at 2 p.m.. The priest's remains will be buried at the Resurrection Garden, the burial ground for priests in Caceres. -- Report from Kate Delovieres, ABS-CBN Bicol