WHEN I saw SunStar Superbalita’s banner headline yesterday, I immediately thought of the movie “Face/Off.”

Remember that one?

It was directed by John Woo and starred John Travolta, before he got embroiled in embarrassing lawsuits filed by men claiming the actor had come on to them, and Nicolas Cage, before it was reported that he owed the IRS millions in back taxes and when he actually starred in decent movies that people actually watched.

Anyway, here’s a synopsis of the 1997 movie: FBI agent Sean Archer played by Travolta is obsessed with arresting terrorist Castor Troy played by Cage. Troy is involved in a plane crash and is severely injured. So Archer undergoes surgery to remove his face and replace it with Troy’s so he can infiltrate the latter’s group. To make the long story short, Troy wakes up from his coma and forces the doctor who performed the surgery on Archer to give him Archer’s face.

So how is that related to the Superbalita headline, “‘Drug lord’ mipausab sa nawong, sikop (‘Drug lord had his face changed, nabbed)”?

It’s not. It just reminded me of the movie.

Suspect Dennis Lorella Lapa, who was nabbed by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 outside a mall at the South Road Properties last Thursday afternoon, went through great lengths to elude authorities.

He reportedly had something done to his eyes that was why police had a hard time recognizing him.

“Intsikon ni siya sa una sir pero karon na shock mi kay dako na siya og mata,” Chief Insp. Chuck Barandog told correspondent Arnold Bustamante.

(And how do you translate that without sounding racist?)

His actual arrest also looked like it was taken out of a movie scene.

I can just picture it...

The operatives lie in wait for Lapa outside the mall for two hours--probably in plainclothes, or not—doing what operatives who lie in wait for a suspect for two hours normally do.

Oh, I don’t know, text their loved ones, do their nails or catch up on the latest basketball game… anything, except for sleep because then they would have missed Lapa emerging from the mall.

They pounce on the suspect as he tries to board a taxi. But because they underestimate his height and build, they have a hard time trying to handcuff him.

Lapa resists, which results in three operatives, including Barandog, getting hurt.

When they frisk him, they find a .38 revolver, three bullets and eight packs of white crystals believed to be shabu in his possession.

Hmm. And he was inside the mall for two hours. Fully armed. I wonder how security missed that.

Lapa is considered a high-value target in the province.

The 40-year-old native of Toledo City admitted that he used to sell illegal drugs but he said he stopped when President Duterte sat down in Malacañang.

Police say Lapa is a member of self-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones’s group, but he denied knowing the brother of the San Fernando vice mayor as he only operated in Toledo.

Either way, at least with Lapa’s arrest, that’s one drug personality off the streets.

By the way, I heard Lapa is not the only drug personality to go under the knife to escape detection.