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New leadership in the Judiciary Police

Magistrates can leave the Judiciary

Almeida Rodrigues is the new national director of the Judiciary Police. He succeeds Alípio Ribeiro, general assistant prosecutor who presented yesterday his resignation. For the first time the PJ has in the leadership a man of the house, someone who began as an officer and went through all the levels of the hierarchy.

With the entry of Almeida Rodrigues exits are guessed: magistrates who assume still places in the intermediate directorships - posts of national joined directors - and who are seen struggling with a 'crisis' of competences. This situation - it is the first time that the Government does not opt for a magistrate to lead the PJ - can create corporative embarrassments, many people are already questioning if attorneys and judges can be in the straight dependence of a non-magistrate. Stipulated in the new Organic Law, which must come into force in the next weeks, the same commissions of service will be initiated, which will lead necessarily to the formation of a new team and that the name of the magistrates passes again over the filter of the respective superior councils.

Even so, three exits were assured yesterday. Those in question are the magistrates Manuel Gonçalves and Baltazar Pinto, respectively in the leadership of the Central Direction of Investigation to the Traffic of Drugs, and the assistant of the former National Director; also Manuel Ferreira, directing financier and the only one who was strange to both the Judiciary and the magistracies.

The exit of Alípio Ribeiro was inevitable during the day of yesterday, after admitting to the ‘Economical Diary’ that the PJ should be under the scope of the Internal Administration. There was no alternative left for Alberto Costa, a long time friend of Ribeiro, except to accept his stress and consequent dismissal. The general assistant prosecutor returns to the magistracy and, with a police officer at the front of the PJ, other magistrates can follow him.

The Government managed make 'peace' with the bases of the PJ by accepting a solution that it was commended for a long time: to nominate someone who knows the police work and who has sensibility for the difficulties that day by day the police faces.

It weighed also in the decision the characteristics of Almeida Rodrigues. Of easy treatment and with directive experience, Minister Alberto Costa believes that this choice will manage to resume the dialog and to make more operational a police force who survives a great deal of commitment and dedication of the officials and whom begins to show frailties in getting results.

Quick explanation:

Obviously for someone outside the country [even for myself] this is a bit confusing so I will try to explain quickly the situation as I perceive it.

Alípio Ribeiro’s Statements

Currently, the MAI - Ministry of Internal Affairs has all the police forces except the PJ under their ambit. The MJ - Justice Ministry has the PJ. The interview given by Alípio Ribeiro defended a joint administration of all the Police forces, therefore implying that the Minister of Justice and the Ministry of Justice didn't 'work well' - reason to be sacked or in a more political correct language: to ask for his resignation. He also defended a creation of a Ministry of Interior similar to Spain, where all the polices forces would be under the scope of an internal affairs secretary - the 'Super Cop', which would be without any doubts very vulnerable to political pressure and who would concentrate to much powers (and have access to process and could at sometime corrupt the system of justice).


Yesterday in RTP-N there was a debate on this subject with Paulo Cristovão, a former national PJ director, a magistrate from the public ministry, a representative from the GNR/PSP. They talked about the PJ organic Law which was recently promulgated; the fight the magistrates want to do because they don't want to have as a PJ National Director a Policeman in spite of Almeida Rodrigues excellent record as a career officer, they discussed as well the low paying of the PJ officers - example: at night time after 8pm until the morning the PJ Officers are not paid at all, they work for the love of their profession (the PJ receives something like 2,50 euros per hour in normal work hours).

They also considered how the PJ is going to work, if they're going to have or should indeed have autonomy from the Justice Ministry and if the PJ should be under the scope and dependant of the MAI- Ministry of Internal Administration, and how this will affect the process of the investigation by the PJ, and how the prosecution and judges could have their work hindered. On the other side the real situation in the police isn't being tackled, the lack of means, lack of resources, of money, of few inspectors/officers, and the fact that the police forces working already in cooperation under the scope of the MAI aren't coordinated are good reasons to think differently about this Law.

It was also discussed that the PJ needs autonomy from any possible political interference.

Ongoing Polemical Situation

The situation now, as I understand it, is that some politicians along with magistrates want to pass an internal security and criminal investigation law which would put all the police forces, the PJ, PSP, GNR working together under MAI- Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The real danger of having just one man- a secretary of state of internal security, a kind of super cop- to whom all this forces: the PJ, the Magistrates and Judges will answer to, it's a real danger to democracy since all the judicial powers and legislative powers are concentrated in this one man...

Plus this secretary of state would only answer to the Prime Minister. Indeed a very dangerous step to democracy.


Carlos Anjos, the president of the Criminal Investigation Officers' Union (ASFIC) stated that everything is 'fine' working under the Minister of Justice and sees no reason that the PJ should be under the scope of MAI. As well, we can all guess how he felt in relation to Alípio Ribeiro as the PJ's Director: "It's logical that operational capacity has diminished. We've lost more than 20% of personnel, which can only give the result we're now seeing." Obviously Anjos is very pleased that for the first time in 62 years a real policeman (career officer) is going to be the National director of the PJ, instead of a magistrate from the PGR (Public Prosecution Service).

Back to Almeida Rodrigues


Reserved but with a capacity of work above the average. This is how Almeida Rodrigues is defined, a man with 49 years who reaches the leadership of the Judiciary Police.
A born communicator and also someone who in many moments removed himself consciently away from the spotlights. Almeida Rodrigues knew how to wait for the right timing and left a place of leadership in the National Direction of the PJ in 2005, exchanging the post for the sub-director of the PJ in Coimbra, where his family was. In terms of curriculum he is certainly one of the most qualified officers of the institution. He already led the PJ’s department of Aveiro, he was the national joint director in the PJ’s National Direction, and he took the role sub-director in the Directorship of Coimbra.

One of his last works in the field is outstanding. In the prison of António Costa, the officer of the GNR who was accused of killing three young persons in Santa Comba Dão, Almeida Rodrigues became involved personally. He went out from the office and with Pedro do Carmo they ‘walked the roads’. On the day of the detention they had very little, but Almeida Rodrigues bet everything. Rodrigues was able to get the serial killer to show him where he had put the bodies; he recovered the mortal remains of the last young person to be killed. Then, he rested, relieved. António Costa was condemned to 25 years.

Source for part of this article: Correio da Manhã


  1. From what I understood reading the papers this time PM Socrates tried to hold Alípio, and Minister of Justice Alberto Costa specifically searched candidates in the Police. In my Opinion, to please some of the discontentment in the PJ and to give this impression of 'fairness', of no conspiracy.

    Keep in mind the new PJ director is always appointed by its predecessor, but the final decision is obviously made by the MJ- Ministry of Justice.

    Some other PJ Inspectors were also considered, Luís Neves for example but his connection to maddie case and is less extensive record did not allow him to be number 1. Anyway, Neves and other younger inspectors are going to be joint directors of Almeida Rodrigues.

  2. Alípio Ribeiro on McCann's Case (original statement): Question: Do you consider or not that there was a precipitation in establishing Kate and Gary (the journalist doesn’t say Gerry) as arguidos (suspects) in this process?

    Alípio Ribeiro: In this moment, at this point in time, with the experience that I have of the magistracy from the Public Ministry… even, as you may know the constitution of arguidos in the processes are not… the director of the Judiciary, doesn’t give orders, constitute or not constitute, and he cannot. …maybe, there should have been another assessment. For that I have no doubts.

    Question: There was some precipitation then?

    Alípio Ribeiro: There was some precipitation. (asserting)

    Alipio Ribeiro's comments in that interview to the Journalists from Público [who obviously have an editorial guideline more supportative of the McCanns for whatever reasons - right wing conservative journalism] were taken out of context, exploited by Público, PSD and CDS-PP as a manoeuvre to attack the PS Government. Media Pundit, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (PSD as well) said: "He killed the investigation when he said there was haste in making the McCanns arguidos in the case" - Firstly Alipio didn't say all that - he only said "There was some precipitation" obviously referring to the new context of arguidos in the Portuguese Penal Code.

    On the following day in the the political program SIC 'Quadratura do Circulo’ commentators Jorge Coelho (PS), Lobo Xavier and Pacheco Pereira (PSD) discussed Alípo's statements.

    Have this in mind Expresso, Público and SIC all belong to one man. A man who was one of the founding members of the PSD party - right wing. Our own Portuguese Berlusconi/Murdoch Media Tycoon.

    From that point on the Portuguese Media picked on Alípio Ribeiro for political reasons, as usual the British Media aka the McCanns Media twisted the story and changed completely the the National PJ's Director statements as if he was supporting the McCanns.

    I'm glad that Alípio Ribeiro is out for one reason only, because he didn't support Gonçalo Amaral, Olegário de Sousa, Paulo Pereira Cristovão and many others while they were being defamed and having their reputations and characters damaged, and that in my opinion should have been one of his priorities as the Director of the Judiciary Police and his duty as a Portuguese Citizen.

  3. The catalyst for this is the McCann case. Alipio Ribeiro was preparing his resignation weeks ago due to the significant possibility he would have to testify in court for the defense (McCann) and in fact he was already preparing to resign before he said their was haste in making the McCann Arguidos. Or he would not have said it. It is incongrous for a PJ to testify for the defense in court in a major case like this. He has just been saying what he wants to say now and to the McCann and it is "come to the caberet old friend, come to the caberet, life is at the caberet my friend, come to the caberet". It is in their best interest without conditions to go to Praia da Luz to the reconstruction. They should take Alipio Ribeiro sereousily. There is also more than a significant possibility that Rodriguez will ask in the F.B.I. immediately to utilize their polygraph team, and accountants to trace the money trail and see what happened. I think this possibility is 100% with Jose Rodriguez now in charge. James Franklin Lawton


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