Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu Charter

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal - The Freeman

The Municipality of Opon was converted into a city and renamed as Lapu-Lapu City by virtue of Republic Act 3134 enacted on June 17, 1961. It was approved by President Carlos Polistico Garcia, who married a Cebuana, Leonila "Inday" Dimataga. Her brother, Mariano S. Dimataga  became the last Mayor of the Municipality of Opon and the First City Mayor of Lapu-Lapu. Lapu-Lapu City was inaugurated on December 31, 1961.

On January 1, 1961 President Garcia and his wife, First Lady Leonila, received in Malacañang Palace, the President's Official residence well wishers for the new year. It was led by Vice President Macapagal who was accompanied by his wife Eva, and three children, Maria, Gloria (who in 2001 became President in a coup overthrowing President Joseph Estrada) and Diosdado Jr.

Opposition stalwart, Cebuano Senator Mariano Jesus Cuenco (Senator Cuenco was a Liberal and supporter of the candidacy of then Vice President Macapagal, whose son Dr. Manuel became Governor of Cebu and a grandson, Atty. Antonio Veloso Cuenco became Congressman of the old 5th District of Cebu and in 1987 Congressman of the Cebu City South District) attended the new year's call.

When Don Sergio Suico Osmeña died in October 1961, President Garcia sailed from Samar to Cebu City. President Garcia in preparation for the election in November 1961, campaigned for his party, Nacionalista Party for his reelection, he went to the towns of Laoang, Catarman, San Jose and Allen of the Province of Samar.

When President Garcia arrived in Cebu on October 23, 1961 paid glowing tribute to the sterling qualities of the late President Sergio Osmeña. President Garcia spoke extemporaneously in Visayan pointed to the many sacrifices of Don Sergio for the Nacionalista Party.

Don Sergio was very loyal to the Nacionalista Party (he founded it in 1907), in 1935 prior to the country's first presidential election, he stuck it out with the party and did not challenge the candidacy of Don Manuel Quezon thereby preserving the unity of the party. In the reelection in 1941, again Don Sergio did not challenge Quezon and instead remained as his Vice President. In 1946, when Senators Manuel Roxas and Elpidio Quirino called for an early election despite the fact that the country was still recovering from the devastation of World War II. When Senator Roxas was not able to earn the support of the majority of the members of the Nacionalista Party, he broke away from the party and created the Liberal Party. Don Sergio who was focused in rebuilding the country lost the Presidency to Senator Roxas (the First Liberal Party President) who campaigned very hard with Senator Quirino as his Vice President.

President Garcia arrived in Cebu aboard RPS Lapu-lapu at about noon and was met at Pier One by Congressman Serging Chiong Veloso Osmeña Jr. representing the Osmeña family. After his speech, President Garcia went to the office of Governor Francisco Remotigue and rested awhile and then motored to the house of Don Sergio house for lunch with the immediate members of the Osmeña family.

At 4:00 p.m. President Garcia with his wife returned to the RPS Lapu-Lapu for the 23 hour trip back to Manila with a short stop at Lapu-Lapu City, formerly Opon. In the election held on November 14, 1961, President Garcia of the Nacionalista Party lost to Diosdado Macapagal of the Liberal Party. In 1964, the officials of the new city were: Mariano S. Dimataga, Mayor, Monico B. Jimenez, Atty. Vicente Balbuena, Secretary to the Mayor, while the members of the City Council were: Cesar Berdin, Domingo Berido, Lucio Dehago, Tomas R.  Baring, Apolonio Maranga, Eleno Andales, Bienvenido Macasero and Pedro Baring.

The Secretary to the Municipal Board was Atty. Moises Casal, Jr., while the City Treasure was Eugenio Vano, the Schools Superintendent was Hilario P. Davide (father of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and grandfather of Governor Hilario Davide III), City Engineer was Romulo del Rosario, Atty. Fausto dela Cerna was the City Auditor, the City Judge was Atty. Washington Ponce, the City Fiscal was Atty. Miguel Tumulak, City Assessor was Atty. Amando Amores, the Chief of Police was Atty. Pedro Oyao, the City Health Officer was Dr. Mabini Berdin and the City's Postmaster was Bernardo Sorono.

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