President Osmeña’s “National Capitol” in Leyte
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - January 22, 2020 - 12:00am

The Leyte Provincial Capitol in Tacloban City, Leyte, became the presidential palace of President Sergio Suico Osmeña Sr. after he was installed as president.

Don Sergio Osmeña Sr., who was elected vice president on September 16, 1935, reelected in 1941 with Manuel Quezon as president, became successor president upon the death of Quezon on August 1, 1944.

Don Sergio took his oath in Washington D.C. before Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson of the United States Supreme Court as President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines at 2 p.m. of August 1, 1944.

Don Sergio Osmeña became the first Visayan and the only Cebuano who became president (the second Visayan president was Carlos Polistico Garcia who succeeded Ramon Magsaysay who died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957 in Mount Manunggal, Balamban, Cebu).

Don Sergio was part of the entourage of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the famous Leyte landing on October 20, 1944 who fulfilled his “I shall return” promise to the Filipino nation. Don Sergio’s fellow Filipino in the entourage was Gen. Carlos P. Romulo who became Secretary General of the United Nations and the reason why there is a dot in its logo after he insisted that the Philippines should be included and retorted that even if the country is so small a dot would be enough to represent it.

Don Sergio was installed as president by Gen. MacArthur on the steps of the Leyte Provincial Capitol on October 23, 1944 and thereon became its office and served as the National Capitol. It was in the Leyte Capitol where Don Sergio captained the recovery of the nation from the devastation of World War II. It was there that he appointed national and local government officials, among them was lawyer Vicente Duterte as Mayor of Danao, Cebu, on January 1, 1945.

The Leyte Provincial Capitol served as the National Capitol up to February 27, 1945 when Don Sergio issued Executive Order No. 27 restoring the civilian government and the subsequent appointment of a new cabinet on March 8, 1945. Don Sergio and the nation were shocked when his partymates in the Nacionalista Party which he founded, led by the faction of senators Roxas and Quirino, called for a special presidential election which was untimely. Don Sergio ran but did not campaign, resulting in his loss in the election held on April 23, 1946 with Manuel Acuna Roxas emerging as the victor.

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