MANILA – Five police officials are on the shortlist of candidates for the country's next top cop, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Wednesday night.

"I already submitted to the President (Rodrigo Duterte) the list of five names recommended to replace (Philippine National Police chief) Gen. (Guillermo) Eleazar upon his retirement," Año said in a message to the Philippine News Agency. He did not disclose the names of the officials.

He added that the list was already forwarded to Duterte on Tuesday.

Año earlier said seniority, merit, and service reputation will be his basis in coming up with a shortlist of candidates.

Eleazar will bow out of the service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on November 13.

Before being named as the country's 26th top cop, he held all three top posts of the police force -- deputy chief for administration, deputy chief for operations, and chief of the directorial staff. He also served as director of the National Capital Regional Office.

If the rule of succession is followed, among possible contenders for PNP chief are Lt. Gen. Joselito Vera Cruz, deputy chief for administration; Lt. Gen. Ephraim Dickson, deputy chief for operations, and Lt. Gen. Dionardo Carlos, the chief of the directorial staff. (PNA)