4th President of the Philippines
“What goodness will freedom and independence gives us, if we don’t maintain such independence, and if we don’t provide our citizen with peace, happiness and prosperity?”
Sergio Osmeña, the Gentleman President, was born in Cebu City on September 9, 1878. His mother, Juana Osmeña, is a smart and loving mother. She is the first teacher of Sergio on catechism. She has been a strong example to Sergio of good values and right conduct most especially humility.
Sergio first studied in a private school named Primera Letras y Humanidades under the tutelage of Martin Medalle. Afterwards, he also studied at Colegio de Segunda Enseñanza under the governance of Don Miguel Logarta. In 1889, he studied at Seminario Colegio de San Carlos. He continued his studies at the University of Santo Tomas where he first met Manuel L. Quezon. They are both studying as capista or studying without charge on food or bedspace. He is the roommate of Manuel L. Quezon in one room in the university.
Osmeña took the bar exam on February 20, 1903 and got the percentage grade of 25%. He was appointed as temporary governor of Cebu on April 15, 1904 and Provincial Fiscal on June, 1904. Osmeña ran for election as provincial governor on February 5, 1906. He won and sworn into office on March 5, 1906. As governor, Osmeña was well loved by his town mates. Osmeña is one of the founders of Nacionalista party in Manila in 1907.
Osmeña resigned as governor of Cebu province to run as congressman. He is unanimously voted as representative of the second district of Cebu in Congress. In recognition of his brilliance and skills in the field of lawmaking, he was chosen to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives for nine years. Osmeña was voted as the first vice president of the commonwealth and took the oath of office on November 15, 1935.
In his last speech in Congress on June 19, 1908, Osmeña said:
“Filipinos just like before, are still passionately desiring to be real free. The desire of a temporary freedom is not a new objective, not a new concept. This desire of the Filipinos is very old and reveals their true sentiments. One real feeling that never ceases, never forgotten by the nation’s children not once despite of poverty and misery they have to endure. This desire of Filipinos has never been blurred. Despite the fact that the Philippines swore allegiance to America does not mean their desire to be free has faded. We trust the loyalty of the United States to allow us that kind of feeling and to desire of one’s freedom for his country.”
During the World War II, the Commonwealth government evacuated to Washington D.C., United States. President Quezon’s health is now deteriorating. If Vice President Osmeña wanted to takeover, he could’ve easily been the President because of severe illness of President Quezon. However, this tested the gentleman nature of Osmeña. He proves that he is not greedy for duty and honor. He only accepted the position of a president when President Quezon died at Saranac Lake, New York, United States. Osmeña finally became President on August 1, 1944.
When the Americans land on the Philippines, Gen. Douglas MacArthur handover President Osmeña the full responsibility of heading the government held at Palo Beach, Leyte on October 20, 1944. On February 27, 1945, the Commonwealth government was again established.
The election of 1946 signifies the end of political career for President Osmeña. In the presidential election, he lost to Manuel A. Roxas.
President Osmeña is married to Estefania Chiong Veloso of Cebu in 1903. They have ten children namely Vicenta, Nicasio, Jesus, Emilio, Edilberto, Teodoro, Jose, Maria Paloma, Milagros and Sergio. Mrs. Osmeña died on January 18, 1918. President Osmeña remarries and his second wife Esperanza Limjap of San Miguel, Manila bore him three children.
President Osmeña died on October 19, 1961.