From Jesse's trial... to Joey's investigation... to Jerry's Kitchen, it's just a matter of time. And the GOP is ready to swoop in.
By Jacob Nakamura
Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje's career in public service has come under intense scrutiny recently. Politicians throughout the country and in Guam have resigned over far less controversy than Mr. Terlaje is embroiled in.
First, the senator's protege and close family friend Jesse Blas, former mayor of Yona, is arrested, forced to resign his office, and then pleas out in a federal case involving the importation of methamphetamine through mail boxes.
Then, a woman named Vickilyn Manglona (Teregeyo) files a criminal complaint against the senator's son, Joey Terlaje (a retired local marshal and former deputy director of the Department of Corrections) and tells the police Joey Terlaje participated in her kidnapping, beating, and detention three years ago.
Then, Joey Terlaje was named by an FBI special agent in two federal drug trials - including the Blas case - as being the target of a corruption investigation.
Then, Joey Terlaje's daughter, Guam Police officer Joneen Terlaje, gets involved in a crash that destroys Jerry's Kitchen in Tamuning.
Then the senator's office lies to the public and says Ms. Terlaje was not involved in the crash and merely arrived on the scene after it happened.
Then, in an oversight hearing involving corruption at the courts - a hearing prompted by the statements of an FBI special agent in the federal trial of Mark Mayo, where Joey Terlaje was implicated in testimony - the senator disavows his duty to recuse himself and begins grilling court officials in an attempt to exonerate his son and get more information on his behalf.
Then, the senator's other son, Joshua Terlaje, is arrested by conservation officers on gun-related charges. He was in possession of a firearm without a firearms ID, and he is a convicted felon who is banned from ever holding a gun. Despite this fact, he was only booked and released, not confined.
The public obviously has had enough with the senator and the shenanigans some of his family members have tried to conceal in less than honest ways.
The question is: Will the senator resign from office?
And what happens if he does?
According to Guam Election Commission executive director Maria Pangelinan, if a senator were to resign from office this year, the GEC would hold a special election to fill the vacancy within 60 days of the vacancy.
Sen. Terlaje is a Democrat, one of only eight in the 36th Guam Legislature. If he were to resign, the legislature would be evenly divided with seven Democrat and seven Republican members. If a Republican were to win the special election, the Republicans would gain the majority for the first time in 13 years.
"There are a number of individuals who have approached us about their willingness to run," Republican Party of Guam chairman Juan Carlos Benitez said, adding that he's confident the Republicans will retake the majority if a vacancy occurs and a special election happens.
"We've heard rumors there might be a vacancy, but no specifics about it," Mr. Benitez said. "If it were to happen, we'll be ready."
Asked whether her party will be ready to defend its majority and put up a strong candidate, Democratic Party of Guam chairwoman Sarah Thomas Nededog said, "Yes, we would be."
Neither party chair disclosed the names of any potential candidates.