Narc, 2 plainclothes men nabbed in Manila buy-bust
MANILA, Philippines — Amid the government’s focus on screening top police officials to rid the police brass of drug links, the Philippine National Police continues its pursuit of officers involved in the drug trade, with an agent of its Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) and his cohorts nabbed on Monday night.
Intelligence and antinarcotics operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office arrested Police Staff Sgt. Ed Dyson Banaag at around 8:45 p.m., in a buy-bust operation at the corner of Rizal Avenue and Lope de Vega Street in Barangay 312, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Banaag, who was assigned to the DEG early this month from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), tried to escape, but was cornered following a brief chase after he lost control of his motorcycle and fell off the vehicle.
Seized from him were some 25 grams of crystal meth (“shabu”) with an estimated street value of P170,000, the boodle money he would have used, his service firearm and his PNP identification card.
Two officers in civilian clothes, Staff Sergeants Raymund Portes and Jerry Saratobias Jr. of the CIDG, were also arrested for obstruction of justice, after they allegedly tried to stop Banaag’s arrest.
According to Col. Redrico Maranan, PNP public information office chief, Banaag had yet to report to the DEG since his posting there on Jan. 4. He was under the PNP’s customary background check before his arrest.
Police are currently investigating his alleged connection to Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr. also of the DEG, who was arrested in October last year in connection with the confiscation that month of almost a ton of shabu worth P6.7 billion.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos had said earlier that Mayo’s arrest proved the resurgence of the so-called ninja cops, or police officers involved in reselling or “recycling” seized narcotics.
But neither the PNP nor the Department of the Interior and Local Government made a comment on whether Banaag’s arrest would expedite a planned follow-up revamp of lower-ranking police officers.
Meanwhile, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo on Tuesday said only 17 police generals and colonels have yet to submit their courtesy resignations before the Jan. 31 deadline.
Earlier on Monday, Fajardo said 935 senior officers of the PNP, out of the total of 952, have already tendered their resignations.
—WITH A REPORT FROM NESTOR A. CORRALES
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