Legal veteran Paulo Taipa, who until the end of the last year was a long-standing advisor to Macau’s Legislative Assembly (AL), has been hired to a new role in Portugal’s ministry for homeland security, the Times has learned.
Taipa started in his new role as political and legal advisor to the Adjunct Secretary of State Isabel Oneto on Tuesday. Oneto’s authority is equivalent to a vice-minister, and her office is concerned with homeland security services, for example territorial matters and police and fire services.
The appointment, which will shortly be published in Portugal’s Official Gazette, Diário da República, was confirmed yesterday by a Lisbon cabinet source.
Taipa joined the Legislative Assembly in 2001, when Susana Chou was presiding over the first post-handover legislature. There he served in his advisory role for almost 17 years before he was dismissed – suddenly and without reasonable cause – by the decision of incumbent Legislative Assembly President Ho Iat Seng in August.
Taipa’s colleague, Paulo Cardinal, who had served at the AL since 1992, was also removed from his post in the same notice issued by the Legislative Assembly’s board.
The two Portuguese advisors were notified via letter that their contracts would not be renewed and that their work at the Legislative Assembly would cease by Dec. 31, 2018. The letters did not state the reason for their terminations.
Neither did AL board president Ho Iat Seng, who, asked several times about the decision, has refused to clarify why the veteran legal advisors were asked to move on.
In a letter to legislators who demanded an explanation in November, Ho merely advised that the Assembly’s advisory council remained well-staffed with “consultant coordinators, counselors, technician counselors and other law personnel.”
Their dismissal will not have any negative influence on the work of the AL, Ho wrote in his reply to legislators, and therefore there he has “nothing further to explain” and there was “no need [for the legislators] to be concerned about this issue.”
But concerned lawmakers were and speculation among the legal and political communities was rife for months after the contract terminations.
Legislator Sulu Sou described the non-renewal of the legal advisors’ contracts as tantamount to a “dismissal in disguise” and, during the final days of the last legislative session, cited lawyer and former lawmaker Leonel Alves: “Nobody can understand which [reason] of public interest is so relevant that does not allow the renewal of their contracts. Discretionary power should not be confused with arbitrary power.” DB