Duterte eyeing 'alternative solution' in plan to appoint Año as DILG chief

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President Rodrigo Duterte and Armed Forces Chief General Eduardo Año

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte is looking at an "alternative solution" as his plan to appoint Armed Forces Chief General Eduardo Año as Interior Secretary faces a setback, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Tuesday said Duterte has been "made aware" of a law that prohibits Año from serving as Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary a year after his retirement.

Republic Act 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, states, "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."

Año will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on October 27, but he intends to retire earlier, AFP Public Affairs Chief Colonel Edgardo Arevalo said last May.  

Asked what Duterte's next move would be, Abella said, "He was made aware of the provision. And I'm sure he has an alternative solution regarding the matter."

Duterte announced last May that he wants Año to be the next DILG chief, a post assumed by officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy after Mike Sueno was sacked in March for alleged corruption.

Read more: Duterte names AFP Chief Año as next DILG Secretary

Duterte met with Año at the Malacañang Palace in Manila on Tuesday, as he witnessed the signing of military donation from the Golden Rooster Foundation, represented by Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro, wife of former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

The President had a separate meeting with Teodoro who was also previously offered the DILG's top post, but Palace officials said their meeting was "private" and "closed to all."

Año's appointment as AFP Chief of Staff last December 2016 was criticized by militant groups who accused the veteran military officer of perpetuating killings, arrests and harassments of left-leaning personalities while he served as intelligence chief of the Armed Forces.

Año was credited for the capture of top communist leaders, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in 2014.

He is also being blamed for the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos a decade ago.

CNN Philippines' Eimor P. Santos contributed to this report.