MANILA, Philippines — Who retired from public service? Not Eduardo Año. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary last Thursday, Oct. 26, the same day the general stepped down as chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during his 56th birthday.
His new post will help Año — a veteran intelligence officer known as the “rebel hunter” for leading the arrests of top communist leaders — prepare to become chief of the DILG next year.
While Duterte wants Año to lead the agency, the chief executive could not yet appointment him to the top post. Section 8 of Republic Act 6975 or the DILG Act of 1990 states that, “No retired or resigned military officer or police official may be appointed as Secretary within one year from the date of his retirement or resignation.”
It was in May this year that Duterte disclosed that he wanted Año to be the next DILG chief and also quipped that he would have a complete “junta” on board as he packed his Cabinet with more ex-soldiers.
Lawmakers raised alarm about the “militarization of the bureaucracy” with the President’s statement.
Akbayan partylist Representative Tom Villarin urged Año to decline the appointment, saying “it would not serve the best interest of the AFP and the Filipino people.”
“It’s militarizing the bureaucracy and a department which focuses on good governance,” he said.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate echoed that the appointment “is only further militarizing a largely civilian agency and does not bode well for our peoples’ human rights.”
“The growing influence in the administration of military generals, especially those linked to human rights violations, is gravely alarming, because these are the same people whose allegiance to the interventionist US policy is unquestionable and who are also brazenly averse to the ongoing peace process,” he said.