By Democrito C. Barcenas
LAST Sept. 9, 2020, the nation observed the 142nd birth anniversary of one of the greatest statesmen of the country -- Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. He was born on Sept. 9, 1878 and died on Oct. 19, 1961.
Known as the apostle of national unity, Don Sergio led an exemplary life as a public servant. In 1905, he was elected the youngest governor of Cebu and after his election as representative, he was elected Speaker of the National Assembly at the young age of 29. He died in 1961 at age 83.
In life, Don Sergio demonstrated qualities that we sorely miss in the present politics of intimidation and crass opportunism. His humility was his greatness. Even before President Quezon’s death in Saranac Lake, New York in 1944, he would have been president but he relinquished power for the sake of national unity. How different was Don Sergio from our present national leaders who would cling to power at all cost even if this would mean national disaster?
In the presidential election of April 23, 1946, Don Sergio who was already president of the Commonwealth having succeeded Quezon, did not use the resources of the government to insure his victory, the reason why he lost to Manuel Roxas. Most importantly, he never made promises to the people in an effort to give false hopes to a gullible electorate. How different was he from a presidential aspirant who promised to solve the problems of drugs, crimes and corruption in six months with full knowledge that said promises could not be fulfilled.
In his time, Don Sergio practiced the politics of principles and shunned the politics of opportunism. We shall always miss him and the golden era of decency and fairness.