AUTHORITIES arrested a police anti-drug operative during a buy-bust operation in Sta. Cruz, Manila Monday evening, January 16, 2023.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Colonel Red Maranan said Police Staff Sergeant (PSSg) Ed Dyson Banaag, 34, currently assigned at the Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) in Camp Crame, was arrested during a drug sting along Rizal Avenue corner Lope De Vega Street in Barangay 312.

Banaag tried to escape on board a motorcycle but was cornered after he went out of balance and fell off the ground.

Recovered from him were more or less 25 kilograms of substance believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) with an estimated value of P170,000 million.

Also arrested during the operation were PSSg Raymund Portes and Jerry Saratobias, both personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who intervened during the process of inventory and investigation carried out by the operating unit.

Charges for obstruction of justice will be filed against the two CIDG cops.

Maranan said Banaag was assigned to PDEG on January 4, 2023 from the CIDG and had yet to report in its office.

He said his assignment to PDEG is currently undergoing investigation as he expressed belief that police already had information about his involvement in illegal drugs prior to the conduct of the drug bust.

“Ang pagsasagawa ng isang buy-bust operation ay isang very meticulous and time consuming operation. Hindi naman ora orada yan, so yan ay dinidevelop, may intelligence operation na involve dito… hindi yan biglaan lang lalo na ang target mo isang myembro ng law enforcement agency,” said Maranan.

(Conducting a buy-bust operation is a very meticulous and time consuming operation. That has to be developed and there’s an intelligence operation involved in it… It’s not an ‘all of sudden’ thing, especially if your target is a member of the law enforcement agency.)

“Yan ang gusto nating tignan (pagsasala ng mga pulis na maaassign sa PDEG) kasi pag ang pulis ay napupunta sa special unit, meron yang vetting. May complete background investigation pa nga para masigurado na malinis ang pagkatao mo na ikaw ay karapat-dapat diyan sa special unit,” he added.

(That’s what we want to see (screening of policemen assigned to PDEG) because when the policeman goes to the special unit, there is a vetting. There is even a complete background investigation to make sure that your personality is clean and that you are eligible for the special unit.)

The PIO chief said Banaag’s arrest shows the continuous internal cleansing among the police ranks.

Maranan said they are also looking into Banaag’s possible connection to Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr., also a member of the PNP DEG Special Operations Unit in the National Capital Region who yielded P13.6 million worth of shabu inside his lending company office in Quiapo, Manila.

Mayo’s arrest has opened an investigation where it was found, according to Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, that some high-ranking police officials were involved in the illegal drug trade.

This prompted Abalos, with the blessing of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to call for the courtesy resignation of all police colonels and generals in a bid to weed out erring cops from the police organization. (SunStar Philippines)