MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is looking into an “alternative solution” to fill the position of interior secretary given a law that bars Philippine military chief General Eduardo Año from assuming the position within a year of his retirement.
“I’m sure he has an alternative solution regarding the matter in order to be able to address the matters,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a Palace news briefing on Tuesday, August 15.
Abella said Duterte was “made aware” of the provision in Republic Act No 6975 which states that “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.”
RA 6975 created the Philippine National Police (PNP) and restructured the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“[President Duterte] did make mention of General Año and he has also been made aware of the provision,” said Abella.
Año is Duterte’s top pick to replace Ismael Sueno as DILG chief, after he fired the latter in April. The President wanted Año to take over the post as early as June, but he had to stay on as Armed Forces chief because of the Marawi conflict which erupted in May, and the imposition of Mindanao-wide martial law since then.
Año, the implementer of martial law in Mindanao, is supposed to retire from the military in October.
It is not yet clear if Duterte will choose an appointee to hold the coveted post for one year and then appoint Año, or if he would continue to keep Interior Undersecretary Catalino Cuy as officer-in-charge while waiting for Año. – Rappler.com