Malacañang, like the country’s top national security officials, is unable to say who was giving updates to President Benigno Aquino 3rd while the Mamasapano encounter was unfolding.
In a news conference on Friday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the matter is a subject of various investigations on the incident that killed 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) on January 25.
At the Senate inquiry on Thursday, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. denied giving Aquino updates on the Mamasapano clash.
They also cannot say who informed the President about the outcome of the gunfight.
Resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima, meanwhile, told senators that he needs to seek clearance first from Aquino before providing an answer.
In a speech before SAF members on January 30 after the memorial service for the fallen police commandos, the President revealed that he knew about the Mamasapano encounter in the morning of January 25.
Aquino, however, did not identify the source of the information.
“Simula pa noong Linggo, umaga pa lang, sinabihan na ako sa naging resulta nitong kay Marwan. Tapos habang sinisayat namin ang pambobomba sa Zamboanga, dumarating ang mga report [Since last Sunday, in the morning, I was told about what happened to Marwan. Then, while we were investigating a bombing in Zamboanga City, the reports on Mamasapano came in],” Aquino said, referring to the Malaysian terrorist who was also killed in the clash.
The President was in Zamboanga City on Jan. 25 but Malacañang insisted that he was only there to assess the security situation after the bomb explosion rocked the city.
Coloma said Aquino has always been forthright.