Lito Osmeña

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To read this article in Filipino, see Lito Osmeña

Emilio Mario Renner Osmeña Jr. (11 September 1938 – 19 July 2021), popularly known as Lito Osmeña, was a politician. He was a grandson of President Sergio Osmeña. [1]He served as the governor of Cebu from 1988 to 1992. He ran for vice president of the country in 1992 as the running mate of presidential candidate Fidel Ramos but lost to Joseph Estrada.[2] In 1997, he founded the political party Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (PROMDI), under which he ran for president in 1998. Once again, he lost to Joseph Estrada.[3]

Early life and career

Osmeña was born on 11 September 1938 in Cebu City. His father was Emilio V. Osmeña, a physician and son of of President Sergio Osmeña, and Ma. Luisa Renner, who was of German descent.[4] Osmeña obtained a bachelor's degee in business administration from the University of San Carlos in Cebu.

In the 1970s, he developed real estate projects. He turned to politics in 1988, when he ran for governor of Cebu and won.[5]


Governor of Cebu

Following the reorganization of local governments and the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, Osmeña served as governor of Cebu from 2 February 1988 to 30 June 1992.[6] During his term, Cebu's provincial budget increased to 1 billion pesos per annum. Flyovers and causeways, as well as barangay roads, bridges, and farm-to-market roads were built. Construction of the Cebu Transcentral Highway, which connects Cebu City to western parts of the province, also began during Osmeña's term. He also launched a water distribution program, which made water available to 90% of the population, as opposed to 56% before his term. Other programs, such as the modernization of Cebu' international airport and a rural electrification project, were initiated during his incumbency. Osmeña was elected chairman of the League of Governors of the Philippines in 1990 and held the position until 1992. He was credited for the Cebu's economic boom.[7]

1992 vice presidential election

Osmeña ran for vice president in the 1992 national elections at the invitation of Fidel V. Ramos. He also joined Ramos's ew party, Lakas Tao, later renamed LAKAS-NUCD. He lost to Joseph Estrada in a 7-way race.[8]

Chief economic adviser

From 1993 to 1997, Osmeña served as chief economic adviser to Fidel V. Ramos, who won the presidency in the 1992 elections.[9] Osmeña was also Lakas-NUCD's executive vice president during the same period. He was also the chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Flagship Programs and Projects. The committee's projects during his term included the General Santos Airport, the Mactan Cebu International Airport, the upgrading of the Batangas port, the upgrading of the General Santos Seaport, the Rehabilitation of the Pan-Philippine Highway, the Quirino Highway, the Southern Tagalog Arterial Highway (Sto. Tomas-Lipa Section), C-5 Road (from South Luzon Expressway to Katipunan Avenue), the Metro Manila Skyway (Buendia to Bicutan), the Edsa/Boni underpass, the Kalayaan/EDSA flyover, the Ayala-Pasay Road interchange, the EDSA-Shaw flyover, the Bohol Circumferential Road, the Bataan Combined Cycle Power Plant (600MW), the Palimpinon Geothermal Plant (80MW), the Pagbilao Plant (700MW), the Upper Mahiao & Malitbog Geothermal Plant in Leyte (231MW), the Rehabilitation of PNR South Line, Line 2, Line 3 and the Deregulation of the Telecom Sector.

1998 presidential election

Osmeña left Lakas-NUCD in 1997 to form his own party, the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives, also called Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMDI).[9] Under the party, he ran for president in the 1998 general elections, with Ismael Sueño as his running mate. He lost to Joseph Estrada, as he had in 1992, in an 11-way race.

Later activities

Osmeña left politics after the 1998 elections. He supported Raul Roco in the 2004 elections. He unsuccessfully ran for senator in 2010.[10]

Personal life

Osmeña married Annette Versoza. They had three children, namely Mariano, Maria Luisa, and Emilio III.


Osmeña died on 19 July 2021 in Cebu City due to complications from COVID-19. He was 82 years old.[11][12] His wife, Annette, also died from complications arising from the disease almost two weeks later, on 31 July.[13]