Terlaje to San Nicolas: protect cockfighting, amend Organic Act

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Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje has authorized his vice chair to take over the oversight function of the Legislature's public safety commission.

Guam – So who’s your gayu, anyway? For those who voted him into the 35th Guam Legislature, it’s none other than former Yona Mayor and cockfighting gayeru Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, now the Democratic senator in charge of the Committee on Public Safety, Border Safety, Military and Veterans Affairs, the Mayors’ Council, Infrastructure and Public Transit.

His close and abiding relationship with the village municipal system helps keep Terlaje deeply in touch with local traditions such as cockfighting.

But it isn’t only gamecocks he’s fighting these days. Pedo has taken up the mantle against US Congressional leaders determined to ban cockfighting from Guam and any other corner of the country and interior forever, now that the 2019 Farm Bill has made cockfighting illegal on Guam and its sister territories and threatens to shut down cockpits on Guam and anywhere else they still exist under the Stars and Stripes within one year of its recent passage. But Sen. Terlaje just ain’t having it.

“I grew up with, you know, that we embrace the teachings of our elders, and I’ve been a cockfighter for the longest time. I just want to make sure that people are given the right to choose their own ways, and based on what, in other words, the way they were brought up by our elders,” Terlaje told K57’s Pattie Arroyo on Thursday.

Last Wednesday Terlaje wrote Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas (D) a letter informing the island’s sole non-voting delegate that he will, quote, “soon be introducing a substantive resolution requesting that you author, introduce, and pursue the passage of an Organic Act amendment permitting the  Guam Legislature to decide whether or not cockfighting should be legal on Guam.”

Arroyo asked Terlaje about the double standard of local leaders and cockfighters accepting bans on dogfighting while attempting to fend off a similar ban on cockfighting.

“And your dissatisfaction with that provision in the farm bill about cockfighting: it also includes dogfighting, and that is an issue I think that people can rally around dogfighting on Guam more than they can with cockfighting,” Arroyo said.

“The dogfighting issue…you know we have the local law for that,” Terlaje said, in mentioning the dogfighting ban already written into the island’s code.

“I am also wondering equally if you have heard from animal activists who are saying that they don’t want there to be a reversal on the decision on cockfighting. Have you heard from any of the activists on Guam?” Arroyo asked the senator from Yona.

“Yeah, yeah I have read that in the news, and I’m pretty sure that those people that are saying something like that, maybe they just haven’t been involved in the real social activities of cockfighting.”