SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – For trying to extort money from the family of an arrested person, a member of the Dagupan City Police Station is now behind bars.

He is now facing possible dismissal from the service following his arrest in an entrapment operation.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The police scalawag was identified as Police Inspector Gerardo Macaraeg.

“Galit ako dahil after all our efforts of curbing the PNP from scalawags, still some insist on their nefarious activities,” said Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) Director Orlando Mabutas.

“As I’ve told the police chiefs during my first command conference in Pangasinan, I will not tolerate any wrongdoings of our policemen. Dalawa lang ang kanilang pagpipilian, dismissal o discharge,” he said.

Macaraeg was arrested Wednesday afternoon by joint elements of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO), the PPPO’s Intelligence Branch and Special Operations Group, and the National Bureau of Investigation-Dagupan.

As reported by Pangasinan provincial police director Percival Barba, the entrapment operation was set after receiving a complaint from a certain Jerrymel Laygo of barangay Bonuan Boquig.

Accordingly, Laygo’s brother Joshua was arrested by Macaraeg last March 2010 by virtue of a warrant of arrest.

At the time of the arrest, Joshua was allegedly in the possession of a hand grenade, thus, the filing of criminal charge for violation of Republic Act 8294 or the Illegal Possession of Firearms and Explosives.

Allegedly, in exchange of his initial demand of P200,000, Macaraeg suggested to the family that the case can be dismissed if the grenade’s gunpowder be removed, thus, it will no longer explode.

Accordingly, the P40,000 advance was to be given on August 11, and the remaining P60,000 before the start of court hearing.

Macaraeg allegedly called up the complainant on August 6 asking for the money. On August 9, the family reported the extortion attempt to the law enforcement agencies.

The suspect personally went to the complainant’s residence to pick-up P7,000. But unknown to him the transaction was being video taped. That they agreed that the P33,000 balance will be given on August 11.

On the agreed date, the joint police and NBI elements positioned themselves at the vicinity of the complainant’s residence.

Macaraeg was immediately arrested after receiving the P10,000 marked money from the complainant. He is now detained at the NBI Dagupan. (Liway C. Manantan-Yparraguirre)