Sergio Osmeña Sr.

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For the municipality, see Sergio Osmeña Sr., Zamboanga del Norte
Sergio Osmeña
4th President of the Philippines
2nd President of the Commonwealth
In office
August 1, 1944 - May 28, 1946
Born September 9, 1878
Cebu City, Cebu
Died October 19, 1961
Quezon City
Spouse Esperanza Limjap

Sergio Osmeña (September 9 1878October 19 1961) was the second President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944. He was a founder of Nacionalista Party.

Osmeña is the patriarch of the prominent Osmeña family, which includes his son (former Senator Sergio Osmeña Jr.) and his grandsons (Senators Sergio Osmeña III and John Osmeña), ex-Governor (Lito Osmeña and Mayor Tomas Osmeña).


Early life and career

A Chinese-mestizo, Osmeña was born in Cebu to Juana Osmeña y Suico. He took his elementary education in the University of San Carlos and graduated in 1892. Osmeña continued his education in Manila, studying in San Juan de Letran College where he first met Manuel L. Quezon, a classmate of his. He took up law at the University of Santo Tomas and was second place in the bar examination in 1903.

Osmeña served on the war staff of General Emilio Aguinaldo as a courier and journalist. In 1900, he founded the Cebu newspaper, El Nuevo Día which lasted for three years.

Early Political career

Osmeña was a lawyer and newspaper editor before involving himself in local politics, starting out as a councilor.

In 1904, the American colonial administration appointed him governor of Cebu. Two years later he was elected governor of Cebu. While governor, he ran for election to the first Philippine Assembly of 1907 and was elected Speaker of that body. Osmeña was only 29 and already the highest-ranking Filipino official.

He and another provincial politician, Manuel Quezon of Tayabas, set up the Nacionalista Party as a foil to the Partido Federalista of Manila-based politicians. The two would engage in a rivalry for political dominance ever since.

Osmeña was elected an assemblyman, in 1907, and remained a member of the lower house until 1922. He was the country's vice president for two consecutive terms under the Philippine Commonwealth.

He went to the US, in 1933, to secure passage of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Independence Bill which was superseded by the Tydings-McDuffie Act in March 1934.

Osmeña was elected as vice-president of the Commonwealth in 1935, with Quezon as president. He was re-elected in 1941. When the Commonwealth government relocated in the US in exile, Osmeña went with Quezon.


President Sergio Osmeña (center) and General Douglas MacArthur (right) en route to the Leyte landing beaches, circa 20-23 October 1944.

Osmeña became president of the Commonwealth on Quezon's death in 1944. He returned to the Philippines the same year with General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces. After the war, Osmeña restored the Commonwealth government and the various executive departments. He continued the fight for Philippine independence.

For the presidential election of 1946, Osmeña refused to campaign, saying that the Filipino people knew of his record of 40 years of honest and faithful service. Nevertheless, he was defeated by Manuel Roxas, who won 54 percent of the vote and became the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines.

War Cabinet 1944-45

On August 8, 1944, President Osmeña issued Executive Order 15-W reorganizing and consolidating the Executive Departments of the Commonwealth government. The reorganization of the government after it was reestablished on Philippine soil was undertaken with Executive Order No. 27, February 27, 1945.

President Sergio Osmeña 1944–1946
Secretary of Finance Jaime Hernandez 1944–1945
Secretary of National Defense and Communications Basilio Valdes 1944–1945
Secretary of Information and Public Relations Carlos P. Romulo (concurrent capacity) 1944–1945
Secretary of Justice, Labor and Welfare Mariano A. Eraña (acting capacity) 1944–1945
Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce Manuel Nieto 1944–1945
Secretary to the President Arturo Rotor 1944–1945
Resident Commissioner Carlos P. Romulo 1944–1945
Budget and Finance Commissioner Ismael Mathay 1944–1945
Judge Advocate General of the Army Mariano Eraña 1944–1945
Economic Adviser Urbano Zafra 1944–1945
Military Adviser Alejandro Melchor 1944–1945

Cabinet and Judicial Appointments 1945-46

Executive Order No. 27, February 27, 1945 was issued upon the restoration of civilian authority to the government of the Commonwealth, and members of the new cabinet appointed on March 8, 1945. Subsequent renaming and mergers of departments have separate listings.
President Sergio Osmeña 1944–1946
Secretary of the Interior Tomas Confesor 1945
Secretary of Finance and Reconstruction Jaime Hernandez 1945–1946
Secretary of Justice, Agriculture and Commerce Delfin Jaranilla 1945
Secretary of Justice Ramon Quisumbing 1945–1946
Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce Vicente Singson Encarnacion 1945–1946
Secretary of National Defense Tomas Cabili 1945
Secretary of National Defense and Interior Alfredo Montelibano 1945–1946
Secretary of Health and Public Welfare Basilio Valdes 1945
Jose Locsin 1945–1946
Secretary of Public Instruction and Information Francisco Benitez 1945
Secretary of Education Francisco Benitez 1945–1946
Secretary of Public Works and Communications Sotero Cabahug 1945–1946
Secretary of the Budget Ismael Mathay 1944–1945
Secretary to the President Jose S. Reyes 1945–1946
Secretary of Labor Marcelo Aduru 1946
Resident Commissioner Carlos P. Romulo 1945–1946


Official Malacañang portrait of Sergio Osmena

After his defeat in the election, Osmeña retired to his home in Cebu. He died at the age of 83 on October 19, 1961, at the Veteran's Memorial Hospital in Quezon City. He is buried in the North Cemetery in Manila.


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External links


  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press. 
Preceded by
Newly Established
Speaker of the Philippine Assembly
Succeeded by
Replaced by the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Replaced the Philippine Assembly
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Manuel Roxas
Preceded by
Filemon Sotto
Succeeded by
Senate abolished
Preceded by
Esperidion Guanco
Senate President Pro-tempore
Succeeded by
Jose Clarin
Preceded by
Newly established
Vice President of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Elpidio Quirino
Preceded by
Manuel L. Quezon
President of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Manuel Roxas