Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda

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Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda
Governor-General of the Philippines
Governor General Fernando Bustamante.JPG
Field Marshal of the Spanish Empire
In office
August 9, 1717 – October 11, 1719
Preceded by Martín de Urzua y Arismendi
Succeeded by Francisco de la Cuesta

Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda (died 1719) served as Spanish Governor General in the Philippines from 1717 until his death 1719.

Governor-General of the Philippines[edit]

Usually called the "Mariscal" (marshal) because he was the first field marshal to govern the islands, he was the former alcalde mayor of Trascala, in Nueva España. He was appointed governor by royal provision on September 6, 1708 and arrived at Manila on August 9, 1717. He was considered severe in judgments. He reestablished the garrison at Zamboanga (in 1718).

Relationship with the Church[edit]

Several individuals with pending charges had taken church asylum. Bustamante adopted very stringent measures to counteract Archbishop Francisco de la Cuesta's excessive claims to immunity. The Archbishop was appealed to, to hand them over to the civil authorities, or allow them to be taken. He refused to do either, supporting the claim of immunity of sanctuary. At the same time it came to the knowledge of the Governor that a movement had been set on foot against him by those citizens who favoured the Archbishopʼs views. José Torralba, the late acting-Governor, was released from confinement by the Governor, and reinstated by him as judge in the Supreme Court, although he was under an accusation of embezzlement to the extent of ₱700,000. The Archbishop energetically opposed Torralba's appointment. He notified to Torralba his excommunication and ecclesiastical pains. Torralba, with his sword and shield in hand, expelled the Archbishopʼs messenger by force. Then, as judge in the Supreme Court, he hastened to avenge himself of his enemies by issuing warrants against them. They fled to Church asylum, and, with the moral support of the Archbishop, laughed at the clown.[1][2]

Tensions climaxed when the governor's soldiers stormed the Manila Cathedral, thereby violating the right of sanctuary. The violation was due to the governor's orders to recover the government inventories and official records held by a notary public who was then taking refuge in the cathedral. Upon consultation by the Archbishop, the Dominican experts of canon law from the Real Universidad de Santo Tomas declared that "under no circumstances or conditions could civil authorities exercise jurisdiction within sacred places, even under the orders of the governor and of the audiencia.[3][4]

The series of troubles with the ecclesiastics led to the arrest and imprisonment of the archbishop, the Dominican friars, and all other clerics involved with the Archbishop.[5][6]


Hidalgo's interpretation of the assassination of Governor-General Bustamante

In reaction to the imprisonment of the Archbishop, and to the government's total disregard with the sanctuary of the Church, a mob of the Archbishop's supporters stormed the Palacio de Gobernador and killed the Governor-General. The Archbishop was released from prison and appointed as acting Governor-General.[7]

Félix Resurrección Hidalgo's The Assassination of Governor Bustamante at the National Art Gallery of the National Museum is Hidalgo's interpretation of the death of governor Bustamante. It illustrates a mob of Dominican friars murdering the governor.

However, according to Fr. Prof. Dr. Fidel Villarroel, a respected Spanish historian, master theologian of the Dominican Order and former archivist at the University of Santo Tomas, Hidalgo was misled by some advisers to wrongly portray the Spanish missionaries as the promoters of the tragic murder. Antonio Regidor, a mason prominent for his anticlerical sentiments, was the painter's adviser. Villarroel goes further by concluding that at the moment of the assassination of the governor, the friars were far away from the scene. They were imprisoned together with the Archbishop prior to the assassination by the mob.[8]

Political offices
Preceded by
Martín de Urzua y Arismendi
Spanish Governor - Captain General of the Philippines
August 9, 1717–October 11, 1719
Succeeded by
Francisco de la Cuesta, (Archbishop of Manila)


Villarroel, Fidel (2012). A History of the University of Santo Tomas: Four Centuries of Higher Education in the Philippines (1611-2011).