(Photo courtesy of PNP-IMEG)

MANILA – Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) anti-scalawag unit have arrested a former female police officer during anti-illegal drug operations in Camarines Sur, a police official said on Sunday.

In a statement, Brig. Gen. Warren De Leon, chief of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG), identified the suspect as former Corporal Richelle Magalona Mata, of San Rafael, Bato, Camarines Sur.

She was included in the counterintelligence watchlist (CIW) of the Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office, Police Regional Office 5 (Bicol). CIW is the list of PNP personnel with derogatory information after satisfying all the established parameters.

Mata was arrested by the operatives IMEG Luzon Field Unit Team 5 and other PNP units, along with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Sept. 30 in Barangay San Rafael, Bato, Camarines Sur.

"A concerned citizen who believed that this arrested dismissed policewoman is still a member of the PNP helped us in our information gathering which resulted in the successful buy-bust operation,” De Leon said.

Confiscated from Mata were three transparent plastic sachets containing 13 grams of shabu with an estimated value of PHP88,400 and one genuine PHP500 bill together with the boodle money used as buy-bust cash.

In 2019, Mata tested positive for using illegal drugs in a surprise drug test examination on all PNP personnel. Since then, she went absent without official leave and was later dismissed from service.

She diverted her source of living from the proliferation of illegal drugs, operating in Bato and nearby municipalities of Camarines Sur, police said.

“Due to some PNP personnel pretending to be active even though they are no longer part of the PNP organization, we are continuing to step up our internal cleansing program against active, dismissed, and retired PNP personnel. This is done to ensure that all our past efforts and successes won't be unraveled. Indeed, we can achieve so many things if we work together,” De Leon said

Mata is now under the custody of Bato Municipal Police Station, Camarines Sur for documentation and for proper disposition. (PNA)