John Henry Osmeña

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To read this article in Filipino, see John Henry Osmeña.

John Henry Renner Osmeña (17 January 1935 - 2 February 2021), also known as Sonny Osmeña or John Osmeña was a Filipino politician who served as senator from 1971 to 1972, from 1987 to 1995 and from 1998 to 2004. He was the grandson of President Sergio Osmeña.

In Cebu City, he started out as city councilor in 1963, became the Vice-Mayor in 1967 and was elected to the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District the year after. He was the Mayor of Toledo, Cebu from 2013 to 2019.

Early life and education

Osmeña was born on 17 January 1935 in Cebu City to to Dr. Emilio Veloso Osmeña and María Luisa Renner. He was the older brother of former Cebu governor Emilio Mario "Lito" Osmeña Jr. and Annabelle "Annie" Osmeña-Aboitiz, a real estate developer. His grandfather was Sergio Osmeña, the fourth President of the Philippines.

Osmeña graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. He also went to the University of the Philippines and the International Social Development Institution in the Netherlands for further studies.

Political Career

Osmeña's career in politics began in 1963 when he was elected as councillor of Cebu City. Five years later, in 1968, he was elected as the city's vice mayor and in 1969, was elected to the House of Representatives of the Philippines representing Cebu's 2nd District.

In 1970, he was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines. Running for the Senate in 1971, Osmeña was at the August 21, 1971 miting de avance of the Liberal Party in Plaza Miranda where two grenades exploded killing 11 and leaving several people wounded. Both of Osmeña's legs were badly injured. He won a Senate seat in the 1971 election.

When President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on 23 September 1972, Osmeña went into exile in the United States. After the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. on 21 August 1983, he was among the first political exiles to return to the country to help in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship.

He was appointed officer-in-charge of Cebu City after the 1986 People Power Revolution. He was again elected Senator in 1987 under the Lakas ng Bayan Coalition of President Corazon Aquino. In 1992, he ran for vice president under the Nationalist People's Coalition with businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. as his running mate. He soon withdrew his candidacy and was replaced by then-senator, Joseph Estrada. He instead sought re-election as senator, and was elected for a three-year term.

He became the representative of the 3rd district of Cebu in 1995 before being elected as senator again in 1998. During this time, Osmeña gained the moniker, "The Lone Ranger". In 2001, during the impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada, he voted to prevent the presentation of an envelope believed to contain evidence that proves Estrada received bribe money.

Osmeña ran and lost for senatorial re-election in 2004 and 2007. In 2004, Osmeña sued Governor Gwen Garcia for plunder. Osmeña ran for mayor of Cebu City in the 2010 Cebu City local elections but lost. He was elected as mayor of Toledo, Cebu, and served from 2013 to 2019. After that, he sought to represent Cebu's 3rd congressional district, but was defeated in 2019.

Personal Life

Osmeña was married (and later separated) to Lucy Miller in 1969. They only had one son, John Gregory "John-John" Osmeña, a former Cebu vice governor and provincial board member. Among Osmeña's grandsons is John Henry Gregory Osmeña, son of John Gregory.

In July 2020, it was announced that Osmeña had recovered from COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines after 20 days of fighting the disease. Osmeña died on 2 February 2021 at the age of 86, sixteen days after his birthday.




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