MANILA – Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao, the Philippine National Police's (PNP) No. 4 man as chief of the PNP Directorial Staff, will take over as Deputy Chief of Operations (DCO) officer-in-charge while retaining his current post, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed Monday.

Danao is replacing Lt. Gen Ferdinand Divina who reached his mandatory retirement age of 56 on May 2, six days before the scheduled retirement of PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos.

Año said for now, Danao would assume the post vacated by Divina in an acting capacity pending President Rodrigo Duterte's approval on the replacements.

“For the new DCO pero with approval pa rin ni Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte) but as of now because Lt. Gen. Divina has already retired, Lt. Gen. Danao will be taking it as parang OIC muna pending the approval of the President,” Año said in a phone interview.

He said Danao is the most senior police officer and may assume the DCO post “by the operation of the law.’’

He stressed the importance of filling up the vacancy, citing that the DCO head is also the commander of the National Task Force (NTF) for the May 9 national and local elections.

On the retirement of Carlos, Año said his service as PNP chief may only be extended in times of war or national emergency declared by Congress.

Carlos is stepping down from his post on May 8 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

“So 'yun mga panuntunanan kaya siyempre 'yung legal office ng Malacañang pag-aaralan kung mayroon ba ma-violate 'yung batas pero siyempre puwede naman sabihin 'yung election is isang special emergency situation, national elections. Depende sa treat kung ano 'yung appreciation ni PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] (Those are the guidelines and of course the legal office of Malacañang will assess if there is any violation of the law but the election may be considered as a special emergency situation, national election. So it depends on how it will be treated and what is the appreciation of PRRD on the matter),’’ Año said.

Año has forwarded to Duterte the names of two officials who would succeed Carlos. (PNA)