By Aaron Recuenco
A young police official nearly got killed in a buy-bust operation in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan after he was shot by a suspected drug pusher during the transaction.
Thanks to the bulletproof vest which Insp. Ray Elona was then wearing, according to Supt. Imelda Tolentino, spokesman of the MIMAROPA (Mindoro Occidental and Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) regional police.
“He was hit near the left armpit. The slug was recovered from the vest of Inspector Elona,” said Tolentino.
Elona, it was learned, is a member of the PNP Academy Class 2016.
The suspect, 29-year old Sabino Benitez, died when the cops traded shots with him.
Tolentino said the operation was carried out after the local anti-drugs unit through a poseur-buyer was able to negotiate with Benitez.
The meeting place was in Barangay Sta. Lourdes in Puero Princesa City on Friday.
“During the operation, the suspect noticed that he was transacting with a police operative. He suddenly drew his caliber .38 revolver and fired twice towards the police operatives hitting Inspector Elona’s bulletproof vest near his armpit,” said Tolentino.
Seized from the slain suspect were six sachets of shabu, a .38 revolver and the P1,000 marked money.
The PNP leadership has been requiring its anti-drugs operatives to wear bulletproof vest for protection. Soon, anti-narcotics cops would also be required to wear body cameras.
More than 100 policemen were killed since the PNP joined the frontline in the drug war of the Duterte administration that started in July 2016.
On the other hand, more than 5,000 suspected drug pushers and users died in police operations although some critics said the figures do not include the more than 20,000 more deaths perpetrated by vigilante groups.