MANILA - Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa invoked the confidentiality of communication with the President in refusing to answer questions regarding the new leads in the Mamasapano incident when he faced the House appropriations committee.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares asked Ochoa for information on the new leads which comes after the Senate, House and Justice department, among other institutions, conducted an investigation into the January 25 clash.
"Si President Aquino may new leads po siya. Kailan lalabas? Anong leads and can you expound a little bit better regarding the latest development?" Colmenares asked.
Ochoa responded, "I'm sorry, your honor. I cannot comment as this is confidential. I have yet to secure authority from the president to disclose this.. As I said I cannot comment on that.''
Colmenares asked if this pertained to information on the death of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan. Ochoa invoked the confidentiality rule.
"Any comment I make will be a violation of confidentiality,'' Ochoa said.
Colmenares asked if the information was given by a secret agent or if it endangers an informant or national security in asking for the basis of the confidentiality.
To this, Ochoa said, ''by nature of information it's confidential… I cannot comment any further.''
President Aquino earlier said an ''alternative version'' of the series of events surfaced in the course of investigation into the Mamasapano clash, which left 44 elite policemen dead.
”There is an alternative version of events that happened there which is undergoing intense scrutiny. We are looking for witnesses who will prove or disprove certain observations,'' President Aquino said in a roundtable discussion with Inquirer journalists and editors.