John Henry R. Osmeña
Senator John Osmeña is known as the “Lone Ranger” for his independent mindedness and taking fearless stance despite overwhelming odds. He is a known graft-buster in the Senate. He has been a very vigorous opponent of the perceived extension of President Fidel V. Ramos’ term.
As graft-buster, Sen. Osmeña was behind the Senate investigations of many irregular and anomalous government transactions, including the so-called Petroscam, and those involving the Philippine Airlines and the Philippine Ports Authority, among others. His exposes have led to the resignation of corrupt government officials.
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.
At present, Sen. Osmeña is in his fourth term as senator, which makes him the most senior member of the Philippine Senate in terms of length of tenure. He also heads two important Senate committees – the Committees on Finance and Energy.
As Chairman of the Committee on Finance, his major task is the passage of General Appropriations Act annually in the Upper Chamber.
As Chairman of the Committee on Energy, he presided over the passage of the following four bills in the Senate regarding the restructuring of the power sector in the 11th Congress.
(1)SBN 1712 – Creation of National Transmission Company
(2)SBN 1621 – Amending Section 5 of RA 7638 or the Department of Energy Law
(3)SBN 1943 – Amending Certain Provisions of EO 172 or the Energy Regulatory Board as Amended by RA 8479
(4)SBN 2000 – An Act to Modernize and Reform the Power Industry.
These four bills were incorporated in the recent enacted Republic Act 9136 or otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2000.
A third generation member of the famous Osmeña political clan of Cebu, Sen. John Henry Osmeña has indeed gone a long way as far as his political career is concerned. Starting out as Cebu City Councilor in 1963, he became the Vice-Mayor of the same city in 1968 and was elected to the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District the year after.
In 1970, he was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the country for his exemplary performance in Government Service.
At the Miting De Avance of the Liberal Party on Plaza Miranda on August 21, 1971, two grenades exploded one after other, killing 11 and leaving scores of people wounded. Both of Sen. Osmeña’s legs were badly injured. Despite all these hardships he was elected to the Senate in 1971.
Martial Law cut short his phenomenal political career. Immediately after President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1971, Sen. Osmeña went on exile in the United States.
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 the Marcos dictatorship.
He was appointed officer-in-charge mayor of Cebu City in 11986. He was again elected Senator in 1987 and in 1992. He became the Representative of the 3rd District of Cebu in 1995 before clinching the senatorial post in the 1998 elections.
Senator John Henry Osmeña 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., current Vice Governor of Cebu and a former provincial board member from the 3rd District.
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.