My Article in line with Osmeña day 2017 (Pres. Sergio Osmeña Birthday & Commemoration)
Since its Osmeña day today (the birthday of Cebuano President, Sergio Suico Osmeña Sr) I’m writing an article about him but instead of focusing solely on his life, I’m going to write about his similarities with his political tandem and at a point political rival, President Manuel Quezon.
Sergio Suico Osmeña and Manuel Quezon were 2 of the most prominent elected statesmen of their time. They’re probably the most similar President and Vice President tandem in our history in terms of achievements, so I’m going to write as many similarities as I could remember. They may have different personalities and attitudes but they were equally brilliant.
14 SIMILARITIES BETWEEN PRES. SERGIO OSMEÑA AND PRES. MANUEL QUEZON
- SAME BIRTH YEAR – 1878
Okay let start with the basics, both of them were born on 1878. Sergio Suico Osmeña was born September 9, 1878. He is the son of Juana Suico Osmeña and an unknown father, Sergio’s mother was only 14 years old when she gave birth to him. Manuel Quezon was born on August 19, 1878; he is the son of Spanish mestizo Lucio Quezon and Spanish mestiza Maria Dolores Molina.
2. NOT BORN IN METRO MANILA
Even though both of them would eventually rule the whole country as President in the capital City of Manila, both Sergio and Manuel were born outside Metro Manila. Sergio was born in the city center of Cebu city near the Spanish Period city hall and San Agustin Church which is presently named Basilica Minore del Santo Niño while Manuel was born in Baler in the district of El Príncipe (now Baler, Aurora) which is outside Metro Manila but within Luzon. Being both from the Provinces, this is the main reason why Sergio and Manuel created the Nacionalista Party to counter the Partido Federalista that was headed by Manila-based politicians.
Sergio was a Chinese mestizo with ancestral roots in Parian Cebu, a Chinese mestizo and genteel community in the City of Cebu. Sergio’s Suico and Osmeña ancestor were both Chinese mestizos and were from Parian. Manuel’s father Lucio Quezon and mother Maria Dolores Molina both had Spanish blood, making Manuel a Spanish Mestizo. When you look at Sergio and Manuel’s pictures, their mestizo looks are very evident.
4. BELONGED TO UPPER CLASS FAMILIES
Sergio’s family (The Suicos & Osmeñas) belonged to the local Principalia (Local Aristocracy) his grandfather Don Severino Osmeña was a Gobernadorcillo (mayor) of Parian, Cebu and the Gremio de Mestizos (Guild of mestizos). The Osmeña clan of Parian Cebu was among the most prominent and wealthiest clans of Cebu even before Sergio became President.
While Manuel belonged to a Spanish mestizo family since both of his parents (as mentioned earlier) were Spanish mestizos, which automatically puts his family at a higher social stratum than the usual native Filipino with no foreign blood (indios) because the people of the Philippines were socially stratified according to their ethnicity during the Spanish colonial era. Manuel’s father, Lucio Quezon was a Sergeant of the Spanish Colonial Army. But the Osmeña clan of Cebu was a far more prominent clan than the Quezons being one of the top families of Visayas and Mindanao combined even before Sergio’s political career.
5. PARTICIPATED IN THE REVOLUTION OF EMILIO AGUINALDO
Sergio served Emilio Aguinaldo during the revolution against America as a war courier and journalist because he was studying law at the University of Santo Tomas but I’m not sure whether he was still studying in UST or have graduated already when he covertly joined the revolution at the sidelines. Manuel joined in the frontlines of the revolution as an ayudante de campo (aide-de-camp) of General Emilio Aguinaldo. Manuel subsequently got promoted to Major.
Just a brief history trivia in connection with this, Sergio’s lawyer uncle Don Guillermo Osmeña (the half brother of his mother) was a teacher of Andres Bonifacio because Don Guillermo owned a school in Manila. Unknown to many, Andres belonged to a well-off family because his father was a high ranking employee of company but unfortunately both of his parents died of illness when he was only 14, forcing him to work at an early age to support his younger siblings. Andres was one of the few Filipinos of his time to speak English because he had worked in an English company.
6. STUDIED IN THE SAME COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL
Coincidentally, Sergio and Manuel were classmates during college at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Manila and also went to the same law school at the University of Santo Tomas. That’s 2 more similarities to add in the list.
7. LAWYERS, BAR TOPNOTCHERS AND TOOK THE BAR EXAM AT THE SAME YEAR
Both Sergio and Manuel took the bar exams in 1903. Sergio placed 2nd with an average score 95.66 while Manuel placed 4th in the bar exams. That’s 3 more similarities to add in the list.
8. SUCCESSFUL LOCAL POLITICIANS – GOVERNORS – LEADERS OF THE ASSEMBLY ETC.
Sergio started his political career in April 23, 1904 when he was appointed acting Governor of Cebu when Governor Juan Climaco (one of Sergio’s political mentors) was sent as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the St. Louis Purchase Expedition in the U.S. After Sergio’s stint as acting Governor, he was appointed Provincial Fiscal of Cebu on July 25, 1904. On February 5, 1906 he was elected Governor of Cebu and subsequently became the Chairman of the first convention of Provincial Governors held in Manila.
He was also elected as member of the First Philippine Assembly (Present day Congress) on July 30, 1907 and was eventually elected as Speaker of the Philippine Assembly on October 16, 1907 making him the highest Filipino official of our nation during that time, second only to the American Governor General and he was only 29 years old during that time. According to the book Life in the old Parian (By Concepcion Gantuangco Briones) Sergio’s wealthy Uncle Don Tomas Osmeña (the half brother of his mother) played an important role in his career as life mentor and treated him like a son since all his children were girls who eventually became nuns. Don Tomas was one of the wealthiest business owners in Cebu during that time. The present Mayor of Cebu and grandson of Sergio, Tomas Osmeña was probably named after Don Tomas.
Manuel Quezon on the other hand started his political career when he was appointed fiscal/treasurer for Mindoro and subsequently Tayabas. He later became a town councilor and was elected Governor of Tayabas (presently Quezon Province) on 1906; the same year Sergio became Governor of Cebu. On 1907 he became an elected member of the First assembly (Present day Congress) still on the same year that Sergio became a member of the Assembly. Manuel subsequently became Majority floor leader of the Assembly.
9. MEMBERS AND LEADERS OF THE NACIONALISTA PARTY
These two prominent politicians from the provinces decided to create the Nacionalista party to counter the manila-based party Partido Federalista despite their rivalry of ideas in the Philippine Assembly since they were both leaders of the Assembly with Sergio as the Speaker, the highest position of the Assembly and Manuel was the Majority Floor leader; there were many times when they would argue in a democratic and parliamentary way since both of them were brimming with great ideas but at times Sergio would just give way to Manuel.
There was a time that the Nacionalista party was split into two factions, one faction that supports Sergio Osmeña’s push for the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Independence Bill, the other faction was against it which was headed by Quezon but regardless of this difference in opinions, they reunited again in the 1935 Presidential elections as a candidate President-Vice President tandem which won by a landslide against Emilio Aguinaldo and Bishop Gregorio Aglipay, the founder of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Aglipay Church).
On 1922 Sergio was elected Senator representing the 10th Senatorial district while Quezon was elected as Senator earlier on 1916 which elections was made possible when the Jones law was passed which replaced the Philippine Commission with a Philippine Senate. Manuel eventually became the Senate President on the same year and Sergio continued to be the speaker of the Assembly until 1922. They were now the 2 highest leaders of the 2 chambers/houses of the Legislative branch of Government with Sergio heading the Assembly chamber or Congress as Speaker of the Assembly (equivalent to House Speaker today) and Manuel heading the Senate chamber as Senate President.
11. WORKED TO MAKE OUR INDEPENDENCE POSSIBLE
On 1933, then Senator Sergio and House Speaker Manuel Roxas supported the passage of the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Independence Bill through their OsRox (Osmeña-Roxas) mission in the USA. The group of Senators under the influence of Manuel Quezon (which composed majority of the Senate) rejected the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Independence Bill and instead supported the Tydings-McDuffie Act which was an almost verbatim copy Hare–Hawes–Cutting Bill.
According to some historians, Quezon was not really against the Hare-Hawes bill deep inside but had to oppose it to pave the way to a new and similar bill which was this time, personally overseen by him for publicity purposes to gain more political mileage and capital, outshining Sergio and Manuel Roxas in the process. Nevertheless, Sergio swallowed his pride and supported this endeavor for unity and the achievement of a common goal.
12. HEADS OF THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT
As mentioned earlier, Sergio was the head of the Assembly chamber as Speaker of the Assembly on 1907, making him the highest Filipino official of our nation during that time, second only to the American Governor General and he was only 29 years old during that time; while Quezon was the Majority Floor leader of the assembly on the same year and subsequently headed the Senate chamber on 1916 as Senate President until 1935. When Sergio was elected Senator on 1922, he was eventually elected Senate President Pro Tempore on the same year which made him the 2nd highest official of the Senate chamber after Senate President Quezon.
13. PRESIDENTS IN THE COMMONWEALTH PERIOD
This is the most apparent distinction that they have in common, both of them served as the highest official of the Nation as President of the Philippines. On September 18, 1935, Sergio and Manuel was elected Vice President and President of the Philippine Commonwealth respectively and then reelected on November 11, 1941. Due to the untimely death of Manuel Quezon on August 1, 1944, Sergio rose to the Presidency and took his oath of office as President before the U.S Supreme court associate Justice Robert H. Jackson in Washington D.C because he was in exile due to World War 2. The Commonwealth government of the Philippines was restored with proper ceremonies on February 27, 1945 at the Malacañang Palace still with Sergio Osmeña as President of the Philippine Commonwealth which was also attended by General Douglas MacArthur.
14. FACES ON PHILIPPINE PESO BILLS
Sergio is on our 50 peso bill while Manuel is on the 20 peso bill. Being both very important leaders in Philippine history since they were part of our early Presidents, they will be forever remembered and etched in the annals of our History and in our currency!
They may have a lot of similarities but their personalities were very different since Sergio was a humble and selfless person while Quezon had a very cocky personality and at times a selfish attitude. You could read about this in the paragraph that focused on their contributions to our independence. Manuel didn’t support the very first bill on our independence so that he could oversee his own version of the bill which was an almost verbatim copy of the first bill that was developed by Sergio and Manuel Roxas, he made this move for his own selfish interest of gaining Political mileage & capital and to outshine Sergio and Manuel Roxas. Sergio gave way to Manuel for the sake of unity because they had the same objective. And when Manuel was still President, he almost didn’t delegate any powers and responsibilities to his then Vice President Sergio. And even way before Quezon’s death, he already commissioned people to work on his monument and laid out his plans for this in advance. Sergio also made a very noble resolve on focusing on the rebuilding of his country rather than his Presidential campaign despite the upcoming 1946 Presidential elections in which he didn’t campaigned at all. But nobody could argue that both of them were brilliant minded Filipinos who contributed much to our country and had the fervor to be very successful in life, achieving something that only a few Filipinos in history could accomplish, being the highest official/chief executive of a country. I’m very sure, In spite of Quezon’s competitive traits, that he respected Sergio Osmeña a lot even if at times he was his rival in ideas and viewed him as his equal.
Coincidentally Sergio and Manuel is the namesake of my great grandfather and grandfather respectively. Not only that, my great grandpa & grandpa had ties with father and son Sergio Osmeña Senior and his junior Serging respectively. The President and my great grandpa Sergio del Mar (A Clerk of Court) who was only 4 years older than him went to the same school here in Cebu at the Seminario Colegio de San Carlos. Pres. Osmeña studied there from 1889 to 1892 while great grandpa studied there from 1890 to 1897. My grandpa, Atty. Manuel del mar was a friend of the President’s son, Sergio Osmeña Jr. aka Serging who was only a year older than him.
This article is close to my heart because President Sergio Suico Osmeña is a great and noble man that I highly admire being the first Cebuano President of the Philippines. Even before becoming President, he was already the highest elected Filipino official of our country when he became the Speaker of the assembly on 1907 second only to the American Governor General of the Philippines, making history as the first Filipino National government official of our nation, not only that, he was one of the early Presidents of our country. I’m also fascinated with his ancestral roots in Parian, Cebu because my del Mar and Cui ancestors were also from Parian.