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Remembering President Sergio Osmena Sr.

If there is one former Philippine president whose name has become synonymous with his province, it is the late President Sergio Osmena, Sr., of Cebu.

Without setting aside or ignoring the remarkable and notable achievements and prestige of the Davides, the Fernans, the Brioneses, the Sottos, the Duranos, the Garcias.the Logartas and the Ramas, the Osmenas remain until today, the most widely known and famous Cebuano political brand.

A close friend of mine, Ernie Banawis, an ardent student of history and politics, eulogizes Sergio Osmena as the greatest president our country ever had. While he recognizes the big role Manuel Quezon played in our country’s history, he asserts Osmena was greater than Quezon.

Ernie insists Osmena was so devoted to his mission to regain our freedom from the United States that in all the differences he had with Quezon, he sacrificed his personal interests so as not to derail our drive for independence.

Osmena, he adds, suffered a diminution in rank but rose higher in public esteem and stature.

It is noteworthy that his children, grandchildren and relatives have endeavored to enrich his legacy in public service. Sergio Osmena, Jr. was highly admired respected as senator and Cebu governor. He run for president against Ferdinand Marcos but lost. Had he won, he could have spared Filipinos from their martial law trauma.

His grandson, former Senator Sergio Osmena, III, was widely acclaimed for his erudition and principled stand on fundamental issues during his Senate stint. We are eager to read or hear Serge’s profound insights on today’s controversial developments.

We are glad Cebu City Vice Mayor Tommy Osmena, whom I interviewed during my recent Cebu visit, keeps the Osmena legacy richer and alive.

Humble and self-effacing, President Osmena lost to Roxas by default in the post liberation presidential race because he did not bother to campaign. Uncle Sam, of course, preferred Roxas since he was not sure he can dictate on Osmena.

Unfortunately, the most briliiant nationalist leader of our country was not the president when we regained our independence.

Had Osmena been President then, he would have rejected the parity rights amendment to our fundamental charter.

Let us hope another great leader like Osmena will rise and liberate the Filipino nation from the depths of moral bankruptcy and decadence. (Johnny Dayang)