Former senator John Osmeña passes away at 86 | Inquirer News

Former senator John Osmeña passes away at 86

/ 08:30 AM February 03, 2021
Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña

Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña. CARMEL MATUS/CEBU DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY — Former Senator John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña passed away in his condominium unit in this city on Tuesday afternoon. He was 86.

His sister Annie Osmeña -Aboitiz and staff member Ferliza Contratista confirmed his death.


According to Contratista, Osmeña was immediately cremated.

The cause of his death has yet to be revealed.


In July 2020,  Osmeña tested positive for the COVID-19 but soon recovered.

Former senator John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña smiles as he was discharged from the hospital after battling the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). —FERLIZA CONTRATISTA

The grandson of the late President Sergio Osmeña Sr., Osmeña served as senator of the Philippines from 1971 to 1972, 1987 to 1995, and 1998 to 2004.

He was dubbed the Senate’s “Lone Ranger” for his “independent mindedness and taking fearless stance despite overwhelming odds.”

He was born on January 17, 1935 to Emilio Osmeña and Ma. Louisa Renner, both of Cebu. He was married to Lucy Urgello with one son, John Gregory Jr. He has since led the third generation of their political clan.

He earned his mechanical engineering degree from the University of San Carlos and further studies at the University of the Philippines (UP) and the International Social Development Institution in Holland.

Osmeña is the brother of former Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña, and cousin of former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña.


Osmeña was one of the senators forced to go into exile in the United States during the Marcos dictatorship.


After the assassination of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino on August 21, 1983, he was the first political exile to return to the country to help in the fight against Marcos.

When Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino ascended to the presidency after the Edsa Revolution, Osmeña was one of the 24 senators that she fielded in the administration ticket.

Political life

Osmeña was elected vice mayor of Cebu City from 1965 to 1969, and city councilor from 1963 to 1965. He also became congressman of Cebu’s second district from 1969 to 1971 and its third district from 1995 to 1998.

In 1970, he was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the country for his exemplary performance in Government Service.

Osmeña was appointed officer-in-charge mayor of Cebu City after the 1986 People Power Revolution.

He served as mayor of Toledo City, west Cebu, from 2013 to 2019.


During his term as senator, Osmeña sponsored among others, a number of development-oriented bills like the Municipal Telephone Act (Republic Act 6849) whereby each municipality will a get a telephone system; the Mini-Hydroelectric Program (RA 7156), which will provide non-conventional electricity in the countryside; the Public Telecommunications Act of 1995 (RA 7925), and the creation of the Philippine Postal Corporation (RA 7354). He also authored landmark bills like the Electric Power Crisis Act (RA 7648) and the Build Operate Law (RA 7718).

He was also responsible for the creation of the Department of Energy (DOE) after his Senate Bill was signed into law by President Ramos in 1992 in what is more popularly known as RA 7638.

A known graft-buster in the Senate, he had opposed bid for a second term of former Pres. Fidel Ramos.

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TAGS: Cebu City, former Senator, John Osmeña, Lone Ranger, Senate
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