Why Duterte can't appoint AFP chief Año as next DILG chief

AFP CHIEF. General Eduardo Au00f1o (right) can't be DILG chief as President Rodrigo Duterte (left) intended. File photo

AFP CHIEF. General Eduardo Au00f1o (right) can't be DILG chief as President Rodrigo Duterte (left) intended.

File photo

It was an "appointment" that took everyone by surprise – the apparent appointee included. But months after an impromptu announcement, it turns out President Rodrigo Duterte can't pick Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año as his next interior chief.

The reason is rather basic.

Republic Act Number 6975, which created the Philippine National Police (PNP) and restructured the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), prohibits it.

"The head of the Department, hereinafter referred to as the Secretary, shall also be the ex-officio Chairman of the National Police Commission and shall be appointed by the President subject to confirmation of the Commission on Appointments. No retired or resigned military officer or police official may be appointed as Secretary within one (1) year from the date of his retirement or resignation," reads Section 8 of the law, which was passed in 1990. 

Año, a Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduate, is scheduled to retire in October 2017 when he turns 56, the mandatory age of retirement. 

An insider source familair with DILG and PNP laws told Rappler it's a wonder why this was never brought up before, even as Duterte and other officials went on to discuss Año's pending appointment. 

In May 2017, Duterte announced in a news briefing that Año would be the next DILG chief after Ismael Sueno was sacked over allegations of corruption. 

Año was supposed to retire early and take over in June 2017 – a plan that was overtaken by events in May 2017 when local terror groups tried to take over Marawi City. 

Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law and Año, as AFP chief, as its implementor. Martial law was extended until December 31, 2017. It remains unclear if Año will stay on until then or will retire as scheduled.

Ironically, it's a retired police general and PMA graduate who's headed the department since Sueno was sacked. Undersecretary Catalino Cuy, a retired police official, has been the officer-in-charge of the department since April 2017. – Rappler.com