Kaka seeks second gubernatorial term in Dinagat vs Ecleo protégé

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Oct) – Gov. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, known as the “dragon slayer” of the powerful Ecleo clan, will test her mettle again in her second gubernatorial bid against Vice Gov. Nilo Demerey Jr., the protégé of her nemesis.

Gov. Kaka Bag-ao and the rest of her provincial slate upon filing their certificates of candidacy on Tuesday (5 October 2021). Photo from Kaka Bag-ao’s Facebook page

Bag-ao is running under the Liberal Party while Nemerey is under Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

This developed as an Ecleo sibling and former governor, Jade, has allied anew with Bag-ao and filed her candidacy as representative of the lone district of the province under Liberal Party.

But yet another of the Ecleo siblings, Jade’s brother Benglen, who was defeated by Bag-ao in 2019, is now running as vice governor under Lakas-CMD.

Jade has allied with Bag-ao in 2013 with the former as gubernatorial candidate and the latter as representative. Jade lost to her mother Glenda by only 600 votes but Bag-ao handily won against Gwendolyn, Jade’s sister.

For the sake of reconciliation of her family, Jade challenged Bag-ao in the 2016 congressional race and lost.

The Ecleos had long been in power in Dinagat Islands, way before it became a province in 2006.

The late Ruben Ecleo Sr. entered the political scene in 1967, when Dinagat was just a town of Surigao del Norte. He used his influence as the “Divine Master” of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association to break into politics. His wife and children followed in his footsteps. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)