Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas passed away Thursday morning due to Covid-19 complications. He was 77.

The provincial government posted the Cagas family’s official statement on its official Facebook page.

“It is with our deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of Governor Douglas ‘Dodo’ Cagas this morning, owing to COVID complications. He has joined his Creator in Heaven,” the announcement read.

Videos posted on social media show Cagas’s remains being brought to Davao City for cremation.

The late governor’s first foray into politics started during the Marcos era when was elected in 1981 as an assemblyman in the Batasang Pambansa as a member of the opposition. He also served as congressman from 1998 to 2007.

He was first elected governor in 2007 until 2013. He was re-elected governor in 2016. He was on his fifth term at the time of his death. He had plans of running for a sixth term in the 2022 elections.

His political career was not spared from controversy.

In 2010, Cagas was among those accused in the murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido in Digos City. He voluntarily surrendered in 2014. He was still in jail when he filed by proxy his certificate of candidacy.

In 2016, the Ombudsman filed graft cases against Cagas who allegedly pocketed P9.3 million in kickbacks after diverting P16 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the spurious non-government organizations (NGO) of pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in 2007. His son, former Davao del Sur congressman and current Vice Governor Marc Douglas IV, was also charged in 2016 for diverting P7.5 million of his PDAF share to a Napoles NGO in 2008.

He is survived by his wife, Davao del Sur Representative Mercedes Chan Cagas, and son, Marc Douglas, who are both reportedly hospitalized due to Covid-19. – Rommel F. Lopez