The Cuenco-Osmeña fusion
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

The Political Giants of Cebu, Don Sergio S. Osmeña and Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco were adversaries for decades. They mentored political protégés and established political bulwarks in the towns and cities of Cebu. Osmeña had the Cebu Autobus while Cuenco had the Bisaya Bus.

The political war took a hiatus when Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco and Sergio ‘Serging” Chiong Velsoso Jr., son and namesake of Don Sergio and his political heir, reconciled and made a pact; the historical Cuenco-Osmeña fusion.

The political treaty was molded in the 1959 mayoralty election. Among the provisions of the pact was that the Cuencos were given two slots in the Cebu City Council. The beneficiary of the alliance was Doc Manuel Alesna Cuenco, the incumbent governor who was defeated by Serging in his first political bout in 1951 as secretary of health. Doc Manuel (the father of Congressman Antonio Veloso Cuenco, deputy speaker and OIC Cebu City Mayor Jose Cuenco) was appointed because of the recommendations of the Cuencos and Osmeñas to then President Diosdado Macapagal who became their ally against their mutual enemy, President Carlos Polistico Garcia (who was defeated by Macapagal, who was his vice president).

In the Cebu City political arena, Serging was challenged by Atty. Casimiro Madarang Sr. (admitted to the Bar on October 17, 1930) who was the candidate of President Carlos Garcia (who married Leonila Dimataga of Opon, Cebu). Osmeña got 38,124 votes while Madarang earned 20,473 votes.

The entire slate of Serging won; the vice mayor was Atty. Carlos “Carling” J. Cuizon, the councilors were Atty. Florencio S. Urot, Dr. Osmundo G. Rama (who was elected vice governor of Cebu under Governor/Senator Rene G. Espina, the former became governor when the latter resigned in 1969 to run for the Senate), Atty. Nazario R. Pacquiao, Raymundo A. Crystal (The founder of the Cebu City National Science High School), Engr. Eulogio E. Borres (mayor of Cebu City from 1968 to 1971, and 1972 to 1979), Atty. Juan C. Zamora, Atty. Luis V. Diores, Atty. Mario D. Ortiz (the last of the legends), and Atty. Jesus S. Gabuya. Serging did not assume the position but continued his term in Congress (his vice mayor, Atty. Carlos J. Cuizon became mayor).

The alliance was shattered in 1971, but resumed in 1992 when Congressman Antonio V. Cuenco for decades ran under the BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan), the alliance was again cut when Congressman Tony, the Atenean lawyer and veteran legislator, and author of the present Anti-Drugs Law and Local Government Code, ran against the BOPK under the PDP-Kusug of Atty. Michael Rama.

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