By Nancy I. Maanao
Despite the public outcry in the wake of allegations of corruption and an arrest within Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje's family, the Democratic Party of Guam does not expect for him to resign from office.
Mr. Terlaje is the senator with oversight of the Guam Police Department. He tried to wield his oversight authority recently in a hearing, where he attempted to get court officials to answer questions about allegations of corruption against his son, Joey Terlaje.
"We don't expect to have any Democrats leave the legislature," Democratic Party chairwoman Sarah Thomas Nededog confirmed to Kandit News Monday.
We asked Ms. Nededog whether she has spoken directly with Sen. Terlaje, and whether her party acknowledges the public outcry and the loss of confidence and trust in the senator.
"Very busy with our homeless project," Ms. Nededog replied. "Have not spoken to Senator Pedo this week."
Asked whether her party is aware of a federal investigation into Sen. Terlaje's son Joey Terlaje, she replied, "Don't know anything about investigations on Joey."
It was widely reported in Guam media that FBI Special Agent Rafael Fernandez twice mentioned Joey Terlaje as the subject of a federal corruption probe during a public trial in the U.S. District Court of Guam. Guam media also widely reported allegations against Joey Terlaje made by Vickilyn Manglona (Teregeyo) and in the Mark Mayo federal trial.
Sen. Terlaje's ability to maintain oversight of the public safety committee has come under scrutiny since these allegations made against his son and then his granddaughter's involvement in the crash of a red Jeep that destroyed Jerry's Kitchen. His office lied to the public at first, saying his granddaughter, Guam Police officer Joneen Terlaje, was a post-crash spectator, and not a party to the crash. Within days of that crash, the senator's other son, Joshua Kinene Terlaje, was arrested on gun-related charges.
Joshua Terlaje is a convicted felon, and is prohibited from possessing a firearm. At the time of his arrest, according to administration officials, officers did not know he was a convicted felon. He was only booked and released, and not confined as would normally happen if a convicted felon was found with a gun.
The Office of the Attorney General of Guam is searching its files to determine whether the officers, who made the arrest, sent the report to the OAG for possible prosecution after learning Joshua Terlaje is a convicted felon.
Kandit has asked the other Democratic senators within the 36th Guam Legislature about their stance on police corruption, and whether they have lost confidence in their colleague, Sen. Terlaje, to continue leading the public safety committee.
None have replied thus far.