FORMER senator John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña passed away at the age of 86 on Tuesday afternoon in his house in Cebu.
Annie Osmeña -Aboitiz, Osmeña’s sister, said the former senator’s remains were immediately cremated. The family did not reveal the cause of death.
The Philippine flag at the Senate will remain at half-staff as senators, officers and employees mourn the death of Osmeña. The Philippine flag was lowered to half-staff after former Sen. Victor Ziga Sr. succumbed to heart and multi-organ failure at the age of 75 last January 31.
Osmeña and Ziga were members of the 8th Congress from 1987 to 1992.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III extended the Senate’s condolences to the Osmeña family, saying: “Senator Sonny was a very astute and savvy legislator. I am honored to have worked with him in the 9th and 10th Congress. He was a Cebuano legislator par excellence!”
Osmeña was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in July 2019 and underwent chemotherapy. He tested positive for COVID-19 last June but recovered.
A grandson of the late President Sergio Osmeña Sr., Sonny is a brother of former Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña and cousin of former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and former senator Sergio Osmeña.
His political career started in 1963 when he was elected Cebu City councilor. The following year, he was elected Cebu City vice mayor, and was elected congressman in 1969. He served as senator in 1971 to 1972, 1987 to 1995, and 1998 to 2004.
In 1986, after the EDSA People Power revolution, Osmeña was appointed officer-in-charge mayor of Cebu City. In 1995, he was elected representative of Cebu’s third district, and again won a seat in the Senate in 1998. He also served as Toledo City mayor from 2013 to 2019.
Osmeña went into exile to the United States during the Marcos dictatorship and returned after former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was assassinated.
As a senator, he sponsored various bills, including the Municipal Telephone Act, Mini-Hydroelectronic Program, Public Telecommunications Act of 1995, and the bill creating the Philippine Postal Corporation.
He also authored the Electric Power Crisis Act and the Build Operate Law, and was responsible for the creation of the Department of Energy.