Don Sergio S. Osmeña Sr., the first Visayan vice president and president
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - May 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Don Sergio S. Osmeña Sr. ushered Cebu into the national political limelight with his election as the first speaker of the Philippine Congress in 1907, making him the most powerful Filipino in the government, next to the governor general who was an American during the American Occupation.

Don Sergio also became the first Visayan vice president with his election on September 16, 1935 with Manuel Quezon as president. The election of the two (Quezon and Osmeña) gave birth to the Philippine Commonwealth. Not known to many, Don Sergio was not just vice president, he concurrently served as the secretary of the Public Instruction (now the Department of Education).

Don Sergio was reelected vice president on November 11, 1941 (again, just like in 1935, his majority against his opponent was wider than that of Quezon). His supporters wanted Don Sergio to run for the presidency but Osmeña chose not to for the preservation of the unity of the party he founded, the Nacionalista Party.

It was on December 30, 1941 that Quezon and Osmeña were sworn in as president and vice president, respectively, in Corregidor by Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos.

With the death of President Quezon on August 1, 1944, Don Sergio Osmeña took his oath as president of the Philippines before United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson in Washington, District of Columbia.

Don Sergio returned to the Philippines along with General Douglas MacArthur in the historic Leyte Landing on October 20, 1944, fulfilling his famous promise “I shall return.”

The following year, February 27, the Commonwealth government was restored with the three branches of government fully functional. Don Sergio lost the presidency to Manuel A. Roxas who abandoned the Nacionalista Party and created what is now called the Liberal Party. The election was held on April 23, 1946.

Don Sergio died on October 19, 1961 but his greatness and love for the Cebuanos continued with his descendants, from his son and namesake, Serging who became, governor, senator, and Cebu City mayor, and now to his grandson, Tomas ‘Tommy” dela Rama Osmeña, the first Post-EDSA Cebu City mayor and current mayor.

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