What exactly is the question here?
I updated the my post to make it clear - clicked "post" too early before.
Ok guys, the problem was that we have been using customized version of portal. The challenge was that we have around 20 portlets and 150 roles. To declare them in each portlet.xml would be a bad thing to do, also because there are more roles added as the project grows.
Solution was to modify the file:
so that the function isUserInRole looks like this:
public boolean isUserInRole(String roleName)