Sergio Osmena, Vice President of thePhilippines Commonwealth and of the Philippine government-in-exile in the US, assumed the Presidency on Manuel L. Quezon’s death.
Osmena was probably the second most influential man in the country at the time. He was a Visayan and almost the direct opposite of Quezon in temperament. He was conservative and held long-tried customs while Quezon, on the other hand, was impulsive and acted fast.
Osmena was said to be very cautious and rarely made any promises. Together, the two, Quezon and Osmena, must have made a political combination of almost unbeatable strength.
Early life and studies
Sergio Osmena was born on September 9, 1878 in Cebu City. His mother, Dona Juana Osmena, taught him catechism, good charming manners, and above all, sobriety of spirit.
His formal schooling began in Primera Letras Y Humanidades conducted by Martin Medalla. In 1889 he went to the Seminario Colegio de San Carlos, after which he enrolled at the University of Sto. Tomas. It was here that he and Manuel L. Quezon met, when they shared a room in the University quarters.
His Public Life
He took the Bar on February 20, 1903 and came out second with a grade of 93%. On April 15, 1904, he was appointed acting governor of Cebu. Then he became provincial fiscal in June 1904.
He ran for a seat in the Philippine Assembly and won. In recognition of his mastery of the art of legislation, he won the Speakership of the Philippine Assembly, holding the position for fifteen years.
Osmena was a member of the Senate from 1922 to 1935 when he was elected Vice-President of the Philippine Commonwealth. Osmena founded the Nacionalista Party of which he became first President.
As a polical figure, he fondly remembered for his self-effacing statesmanship and his readiness to sacrifice self-interest for the good of the country. He was listened to with great respect on all matters he discussed.
Osmena manifested his unselfish devotion to duty when he took over the duties as President when Quezon was sick. He did not desire self glory and only when Quezon died did he agree to assume the position.
An interesting point worthy of consideration is thefollowing: After serving for eight consecutive years, President Quezon had his term expired on November 15, 1943, as provided by the amended 1935 Philippine Constitution. On this date, Vice President Osmena would have become President of the Philippines.
However, knowing that President Quezon, who was seriously ill at the time, wanted very much to continue as President, Vince President Osmena, a man of true patriotism and integrity, wrote to Quezon and President Franklin Roosevelt of the US that he was renouncing his constitutional right to assume presidency. This noble gesture, up to the present, has never been equalled in the political records of the Philippines.
It is said that upon hearing of the death of his partner and friend, Osmena cried.
Performance as the New President
During his administration he faced serious problems of a country after a war. He restored the pre-war government. He organized the judiciary. He abolished the Court of Appeals but increased the members of the Supreme Court. He created the People’s Court to try all cases of collaboration with the Japanese.
He created relief agencies to distribute relief goods to the war-devastated people. He convened the first Congress of the Philippines. It was the first time that Congress met since its election in 1941.
Sergio Osmena married twice, first to Estefania Veloso and upon her death, to Esperanza Limjap.
Like Quezono, Osmena has the gift of leadership, but unfortunately, at the election f 1944 he was defeated by Manuel A. Roxas.
Among the achievements of the Philippine Commonwealth under the leadership of the President Manuel Quezon and Vice President Sergio Osmena were the following: Reorganization of the government by creating new offices, including Department of National Defense, the Institute of National Language and National Council of Education; The Filipinization of the judiciary from the Supreme Court down to the Municipal Courts, and the establishment of two new courts – the Court of Appeals and the Court of Industrial Relations; Granting woman suffrage; Creation of new cities; Adoption of national language; Improvement of the economy as shown in the growth of commerce, industries and agriculture.
President Osmena dedicated his life to the cause of our beloved country. Magnetic and good-natured leader, the Speaker of the First Philippine Assembly and First Legislature, the first Secretary of Public instruction and the second President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, was a man loved and respected by his people. They placed their confidence in his brilliant leadership and admirable tact, wisdom and diplomacy in all things pertaining to the affairs of the state – in guiding them to their great destiny as a new nation.
|< Prev||Next >|