Lorenzana says 'it's final': AFP chief Año in DILG by June

MANILA, Philippines – Despite an appeal from his defense secretary, President Rodrigo Duterte wants Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año to take over the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) by June.

Speaking at the closing of the 2017 Balikatan exercises, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he tried to convince Duterte to "extend" Año's stay as military chief – or until the AFP chief's scheduled retirement in October – but to no avail.

"That's it, it's final," Lorenzana said in his speech on Friday, May 19, noting that Duterte wants the turnover of the AFP to the new chief by next month.

The defense chief earlier said that the President was keen on early retirement for Año. The AFP chief is due to retire on October 26, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56. (READ: Early retirement for AFP chief Año?)

Lieutenant General Rey Guerrero, chief of the Davao City-based Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), is said to be a top contender for new AFP chief.

Duterte announced Año as his next interior secretary on May 10, when pressed on his choice for DILG chief in a news briefing.

Since Ismael Sueno was sacked over corruption allegations, the DILG has been headed by an officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Catalino Cuy.

The DILG has a vast portfolio that includes supervision over all local government units in the country such as provinces, cities, towns, and barangays, and public safety bureaus including the police, fire personnel, and jail personnel.

As DILG chief, Año will have administrative supervision over the Philippine National Police through the National Police Commission. (READ: 3 challenges Año will face as DILG chief)

Although the PNP and the DILG are civilian institutions, many of its top officials are Año's schoolmates at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Año, Cuy, and PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa are all graduates of the elite academy. – Rappler.com