The Cebu Gubernatorial election of 1951
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - May 15, 2019 - 12:00am

It was the first political battle of Sergio “Serging” Chiong Veloso Osmeña Jr., the son and namesake of the Grand Old Man of Cebu. Serging was the youngest child of Don Sergio and Doña Pepang.

The other political pugilist was the incumbent governor, Dr. Manuel Alesna Cuenco, son of the political kingpin of the old 5th District of Cebu, Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco (who served as congressman, governor, and senator), owner of the Bisaya Shipping Lines, Bisaya Bus, and The Republic News.

Doc Manuel was appointed by President Manuel Roxas in 1946 when he defeated Don Sergio in the special presidential election on April 23, 1946. The following year Doc Manuel was elected governor. The Cuenco’s belonged to the Liberal Party, the newly-created party then of Manuel Roxas, while the Osmeña’s were the royals of the Nacionalista Party which was founded by Don Sergio.

Roxas died on April 15, 1948, with Elpidio Quirino succeeding him on April 17, 1948. The Cuencos’ held the powers of government at that time. The president (Quirino) was their ally who had just won as president in the election held on November 8, 1949, thus the November 14, 1951 was his midterm election. Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco during the election was also the Senate president.

Serging Osmeña, on the other hand only had his father, who retired from politics after his defeat in 1946 by the Roxas and Quirino duo, as his asset. Doc Manuel, being the incumbent, had all the towns and cities except Mandaue, as well as the seven congressmen.

The national government’s machinery and local political power was with the Cuencos while Serging only had the loyal supporters called the Osmenistas.

President Quirino was no stranger to Cebu politics; it was he who represented President Quezon as the secretary of the interior during the inauguration of Cebu as a charter city in 1937. The Nacionalista Party of Osmeña was ailing from the presidential defeat in 1949 of Jose P. Laurel, the Liberal Party of the Cuencos was in power and controlled the government.

Serging executed the upset of the century, defeating the incumbent governor who had the support of the president during his midterm. Cuenco got 79,924 as against Serging Osmeña’s 99,737 votes. From thereon, Serging became a political legend, always winning. So did all the candidates he supported. It was only in the 1969 presidential reelection of Marcos that he was defeated.

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