THREE agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Negros Occidental were injured, while a man was seriously hurt after he set himself on fire in Sitio Sibucao, Barangay Banago, Bacolod City, early morning of February 24.
Roberto Rodriguez Jr., of Barangay Mandalagan, sustained third-degree burns, while PDEA-Negros Occidental officer-in-charge Grace Cruz and two other agents sustained first-degree burns.
The PDEA operatives with personnel of City Drug Enforcement Unit, Regional Intelligence Unit, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bacolod served an arrest warrant for illegal drugs and murder against high-value target Ramy Poja around 12:15 a.m.
When Poja sensed the presence of authorities, he threw two hand grenades.
Cruz said the grenades did not explode because the safety pins were still in place, but Poja managed to escape, leaving his two companions, Rodriguez and Steve Libo-on, who were inside two separate rooms in his house.
Rodriguez poured gasoline on his body and torched himself. The operatives then helped him put out the fire.
He was then arrested together with Libo-on, who claimed that he was working as a carpenter at Poja’s house.
Rodriguez was brought to Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital.
Operatives recovered during the operation four sachets of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), drug paraphernalia, firearms, ammunition, and explosives.
Cruz said Poja has been placed under surveillance for several months. He is the leader of Poja's drug group and the two other suspects are members of his group.
She said they are preparing the documents for the filing of illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition cases against Rodriguez and Libo-on.
The CIDG will file illegal possession of explosives case against Poja.
Rodriguez is under hospital arrest, while Libo-on is detained at Police Station 3.