José Fuentebella

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José T. Fuentebella, widely known as "Pepe" was one of the greatest Fuentebella politician in Philippine history for his tumultuous contributions to the country. He is the first Fuentebella to foray into the national arena of politics.

José T. Fuentebella
Senator of the Philippines from the 6th district
In office
Preceded byJuan B. Alegre
In office
Succeeded byDomingo Imperial
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Ambos Camarines's 3rd district
In office
Preceded byFrancisco Alvarez
In office
Succeeded bySulpicio V. Cea
Governor of Ambos Camarines
In office
Preceded byMariano Fuentebella
Succeeded byManuel Crescini
Member of the Philippine National Assembly from Camarines Sur's 2nd district
In office
November 25, 1935 – August 15, 1938
Preceded byLuis N. De Leon
Member of the Philippine National Assembly from Camarines Sur's 2nd district
In office
January 24, 1939 – December 16, 1941
Member of the Congress of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from Camarines Sur's 2nd district
In office
Succeeded bySebastian C. Moll, Jr.
Commissioner of the 5th Military District
In office
September 1943 – December 1944
PresidentJosé P. Laurel
Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia
In office
PresidentRamon Magsaysay
Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs
PresidentFerdinand E. Marcos
Personal details
Jose Tria Fuentebella

(1883-06-17)June 17, 1883
Sagñay, Ambos Camarines, Captaincy General of the Philippines
DiedJuly 25, 1982(1982-07-25) (aged 99)
Political partyNacionalista Party
ResidenceSagñay, Camarines Sur
Alma materColegio de San Buenaventura (Albay)
Ateneo de Manila
Escuela de Leyes

Early life and educationEdit

José studied at Colegio de San Buenaventura in Albay. He finished his Bachelor of Arts in Ateneo de Manila in 1902, obtained his Bachelor of Laws from Escuela de Leyes in 1905 and passed the bar in 1906. José practiced law for three years before entering politics at the age of 26.

Political and Professional CareerEdit

He was elected representative of Ambos Camarines's 3rd district for the Second Philippine Legislature in 1909. He also served in the Third Philippine Legislature until 1916.

He convinced his father, Mariano Fuentebella, to run for governor of Ambos Camarines in 1912. Together they formed a powerful tandem and were able to obtain benefits for the province from the colonial government. When his father died, although he was in a higher office as a representative, José accepted the appointment as governor to finish his father's term and implement their joint projects.

In 1916, he returned to private practice. But in 1931, he made his return to the Senate as a 6th district senator in 1928 and served two terms (1928-1931 and 1931-1934).

The Senate was abolished in 1935. In the legislative polls later that year, José won a seat in the unicameral National Assembly and served two terms until 1941.

Although the Senate was restored in 1941, José ran for a seat in the Lower House in the November polls. However, the 1st Congress of the Commonwealth of the Philippines did not seat until 1945 as World War II came to the Philippines.

During the Japanese Occupation, from September 1943 to December 1944, José was appointed Commissioner of the 5th Military District comprising the entire Bicol Region. After consulting guerilla leaders, he accepted the appointment from the Laurel government reluctantly and only to prevent more Japanese atrocities.

After the war, he finished his term as representative and successfully defended himself from accusations that he had collaborated with the Japanese.

Crowning his long and illustrious service to the nation, Jose was appointed Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia by then Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay. He exercised deft democracy from 1955 to 1961, a crucial time in Philippine and Indonesian relations. Subsequently, Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos appointed him Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs.

Jose was an ardent nationalist and founder of the Nacionalista Party in Bicol. He is one who espoused the "Filipino First" policy of then Philippine President Carlos Garcia. One of his greatest achievements as a politician was the extension of the Philippine National Railways to Bicol, establishing Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges in Naga City, and being the author of the "Flag Law".


He died on July 25, 1982.


  • Building Institutions: The Fuentebella Legacy by Coylee Gamboa