This Thursday’s meeting of the TAP investigation commission started with another long discussion between the deputies, which opposed the parliamentary group of the PS to the rest of the parties. At issue was the vote on seven requests for documentation. Only one was approved: the request for documents related to the purchase and sale of David Neeleman’s stake in TAP and the transfer of 55 million euros to the former shareholder. But of the six that were rejected, there was one that caused a special stir.
One of the six PSD requests, request 80, aimed to request CEGER and the Ministry of Infrastructure to “send notes on TAP” that are on Frederico Pinheiro’s PC (computer). The PS announced that of the seven requests to vote, it would only approve the documents related to Neeleman, considering that the rest fell outside the scope of the commission. Asked by the PSD about why he considers that the request for notes on TAP is out of place, the socialist deputy Bruno Aragão elaborated the answer alleging “supervening uselessness” because “we already have a request from the Left Bloc about the documents of that computer”. He also stressed that “we began to talk about everything except TAP.”
Several accusations by opposition parliamentary groups (except the PCP, which was absent from this discussion) followed, that the PS was, once again, blocking the work of the commission and taking advantage of, in the words of PSD’s Paulo Moniz, of “majority steamroller” when it comes to requirements. For the coordinator of the group that made the request, the “grade guide is surgical.” The deputy said that he still had “hopes” to see the concern about “preserving the integrity of the information” on that computer clarified during the hours that he was with the information services.
For Filipe Melo, from Chega, the vote against is “symptomatic” and shows that the PS deputies “want to protect members of the Government, hide information, prevent scrutiny and protect a minister.” Accusing the PS of maintaining an “anti-democratic stance”, Chega defended that it is necessary to “rethink the way of working in this CPI”. “They are inspectors and not government agents,” he shot.
Pedro Filipe Soares, from the Bloco de Esquerda, wanted to reject the PS’s idea that the documentation would be out of reach. “There is an idea that the PS tries to convey, further from here, that the CPI is deviating from what is essential.” However, for the deputy, “there was a set of facts that result from the information that a certain computer has and that information is about TAP.” The Bloc deputy invoked what he considers a “barrier to prevent the CPI from inspecting because those inspected are not up to an impeccable word or conduct.” Recognizing the democratic validity of the vote, the BE pointed to a “change of the PS in this commission” and condemned the “political objectives”.
Five other PSD applications were also rejected. A request for information to the MAAP (Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs), asking the GNS (National Security Office) for clarification on the classification of documents by the Government; a request to the PSP for copies of the report, a police report and a medical report of Frederico Pinheiro, a request to the CEGER (Government IT Network Management Center) for information on IT security measures related to classified documents; and request to the Ministry of Infrastructure for the manual, guidelines or indications given to the chief of staff on how to proceed in situations similar to that of April 26.
A request from Chega, who wanted to request documentation from the Ministry of Infrastructure, was also rejected, namely, the record of “all the communications exchanged between you and the Prime Minister, Dr. António Costa, and between both and the Secretary of State António Mendonça Mendes”.