CEBU officials mourned the death of former senator and former Toledo City mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña.
Both the local government units of Cebu City and Toledo City, both of which he had served in, declared a period of mourning by lowering the Philippine flag to half-mast.
Sonny Osmeña died on Feb. 2, 2021 at Maryville Condominium in Cebu City. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2019 and undergone chemotherapy and dialysis. He had beaten the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in 2020.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella instructed all government offices in the city to put on half-mast the Philippine flag as tribute to the life of the 86-year-old Osmeña who served as councilor, vice mayor and district representative in Cebu City.
Osmeña served as Cebu City councilor in 1963, became vice mayor in 1968 and was eventually elected as south district representative.
Osmeña also served as officer-in-charge Cebu City mayor after the 1986 People Power Revolution, said Labella.
Osmeña also served as mayor of Toledo City for two terms, 2013-2016 and 2016-2019.
Toledo City Mayor Marjorie Perales, Osmeña’s successor, thanked the late senator for what he had done for the city.
Perales also thanked Osmeña for trusting her to continue the progress in Toledo City, recalling how the late Osmeña told her to run as mayor in the city in the 2019 filing of candidacy.
“You changed your mind and told me to run for mayor. Your challenge for me kept me up for several night, senator,” wrote Perales in her Facebook post.
Labella also recalled when Osmeña visited him in his office when he was still a vice mayor.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator John Henry ‘Sonny’ Osmeña. We have lost another great statesman and staunch advocate against corruption in public service,” said Labella.
“We would talk about governance and our responsibilities in our respective local governments. He truly had a heart for the people,” he said.
Labella described Osmeña as a “fighter and a survivor.”
Labella recalled that Osmeña survived the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971 and beat Covid-19 in 2020. He was also diagnosed with colon cancer.
Sonny Osmeña would also be remembered for his acidic statement “Pagpuasa mo!” He said this in response to Cebu City officials’ call for Congress’ help in securing a loan for the South Reclamation Project. He was senator then and holding the committee on finance during President Joseph Estrada’s time between 1998 and 2004. He outrightly rejected the request to spite Cebu where Estrada lost heavily in the 1998 elections. Osmeña also lost in Cebu when he sought reelection for the Senate, never even making it to the top 15. (JJL / MPS)