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Achievements and Failures of Sergio Osmea Osmea, Sergio (1878-1961), Philippine independence leader and statesman, born on Cebu.

Trained as a lawyer, he was elected to the first Philippine assembly, became its speaker (19071916), and later served as senator from Cebu. Osmea headed several missions to the United States to argue for Philippine independence and was instrumental in gaining commonwealth status for the Philippines in 1935. Twice elected vice-president of the commonwealth (1935 and 1941), he became president of the government in exile when President Manuel Quezon died in 1944. He was, however, defeated (1946) in the first elections of an independent Philippines. He was the founder of the Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista) and president of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. Osmea received a law degree from the University of Santo Toms, Manila, in 1903. He was also editor of a Spanish newspaper, El Nuevo Da, in Cebu City. In 1904 the U.S. colonial administration appointed him governor of the province of Cebu and fiscal (district attorney) for the provinces of Cebu and Negros Oriental. Two years later he was elected governor of Cebu. In 1907 he was elected delegate to the Philippine National Assembly and founded the Nationalist Party, which came to dominate Philippine political life. Osmea remained leader of the Nationalists until 1921, when he was succeeded by Manuel Quezon, who had joined him in a coalition. Made speaker of the House of Representatives in 1916, he served until his election to the Senate in 1923. In 1933 he went to Washington, D.C., to secure passage of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting independence bill, but Quezon differed with Osmea over the bill's provision to retain U.S. military bases after independence. The bill, vetoed by the Philippine Assembly, was superseded by the Tydings-McDuffie Act of March 1934, making the Philippines a commonwealth with a large measure of independence. The following year Osmea became vice president, with Quezon as president. He remained vice president during the Japanese occupation, when the government was in exile in Washington, D.C. On the death of Quezon in August 1944, Osmea became president. He served as president until the elections of April 1946, when he was defeated by Manuel Roxas, who became the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines. He was elected Vice President of the Philippines in 1935 and succeeded Quezon to the Presidency in-exile. Osmena was a notable figure in the struggle for independence. A lawyer, he espoused the cause of independence through peaceful means as editor of the Cebu newspaper El Nuevo Dia (New Day), which he founded in 1900. He served as fiscal of Cebu and Negros Oriental. He was appointed governor of Cebu in 1904 and elected to the same post in 1906. In 1907, he was elected as representative of Cebu and later became speaker of the first Philippine Assembly. In 1922, he was elected as senator. He headed important government missions to the U. S. Osmena returned to the Philippines on October 20, 1944, together with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. In February 1945, he took the reins of government. On 30 April 1946, the United States Congress, at last approved the Bell Act, which as early as 20 January had been reported to the Ways and Means Committee of the lower house, having been already passed by the Senate. President Osmea and Resident Commissioner Ramulo had urged

the passage of this bill, with United States High Commissioner, Paul V. McNutt, exerting similar pressure. The Act gave the Philippines eight years of free trade with the United States, then twenty years during which tariffs would be upped gradually until they were in line with the rest of the American tariff policy. The law also fixed some quotas for certain products: sugar 850,000 long tons; cordage 6,000,000 pounds; coconut oil 200,000 long tons; cigars 200,000,000 pounds. This aid was coupled with that to be obtained from the recently passed Tydings Damage bill, which provided some nine hundred million dollars for payment of war damages, of which one million was earmarked to compensate for church losses. The sum of two hundred and forty million dollars was to be periodically allocated by the United States President as good will. Also, sixty million pieces of surplus property were transferred to the Philippines government.

He refused to campaign during the election of 1946, and lost it to Manuel Roxas. He recommended arresting and trying Filipino leaders who collaborated with the Japanese during the war. Roxas, who also served in the Japanese puppet government during the war, rejected the recommendation, citing that re-arresting those already pardoned would place them in double jeopardy. After his failure to bring collaborationists to court, David Bernstein, an Osmea partisan, wrote that the "whitewash had succeeded.... The French executed Laval, while the Filipinos elected Roxas as President." While the analogy might be unfair, it did reflect the power of the old boys club of Manila politics.
Osmea became president of the Commonwealth on Quezon's death in 1944. He returned to the Philippines the same year withGeneral Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces. After the war, Osmea restored the Commonwealth government and the various executive departments. He continued the fight for Philippine independence. For the presidential election of 1946, Osmea refused to campaign, saying that the Filipino people knew of his record of 40 years of honest and faithful service. He lost to Manuel Roxas, who won 54 percent of the vote and became president of the independent Republic of the Philippines.