Francisco de la Cuesta

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Su Excelencia Reverendísima
Francisco de la Cuesta
Arzobispo de Manila
Francisco de la Cuesta.jpg
Province Manila
See Manila
Installed August 12, 1707
Term ended July 25, 1721
Predecessor Diego Camacho y Ávila
Successor Ángel Rodríguez, O.SS.T.
Personal details
Born 1661
Colmenar, outskirt of Madrid
Died May 30 1724 (aged 62–63)
Michoacan, Mexico
Nationality Spanish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Styles of
Arzobispo Francisco de la Cuesta
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style Monseñor
Spoken style Su Excelencia Reverendísima
Religious style Reverendísimo

Francisco de la Cuesta (1661 – May 30, 1724), O.S.H. was the 12th Archbishop of Manila from 1707 to 1722, and Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines from 1719 to 1721.


Francisco de la Cuesta was born in Colmenar, outskirt of Madrid. He was a master of theology and a preacher to the King of Spain. He was from the Order of Saint Jerome.

Archbishop of Manila[edit]

He was appointed as Archbishop of Manila on 1706 and was consecrated in Mexico on August 12, 1707. As archbishop, he tried to enforce the episcopal visitation upon the order of Pope Clement XI but was opposed by the friars. As a result, he was forced to wait for their reports to Rome.

Feud with Fernando Bustamante[edit]

de la Cuesta came in conflict with Fernando Bustamante, the Governor-General at that time. 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. The series of troubles with the ecclesiastics led to the arrest and imprisonment of the archbishop, the Dominican friars, and all other clerics who support the Archbishop.[1]

On October 11, 1719, according to popular account, angry friars led by the Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians instigated a siege on the Palacio del Gobernador|Governor's Palace as a show of support for the imprisoned archbishop. In the terror and confusion of the palace guards, the now defenseless Bustamante and his son were murdered by the friars. De la Cuesta was released afterwards.[1]

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.[1]

Governor-General of the Philippines[edit]

Su Excelencia
Francisco de la Cuesta
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
October 11, 1719 – August 6, 1721
Monarch Philip V of Spain
Preceded by Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda
Succeeded by Toribio José Cosio y Campo

After his release, de la Cuesta appointed himself as the acting Governor-General and served for 2 years. It was due to the refusal of other officials in Manila to be the next Governor-General that de la Cuesta was in power. Also, the sees of Cebu, Nueva Segovia and Caceres were vacant during de la Cuesta's short term as Governor-General due to the deaths of the archbishops of the said sees. These sees will remain vacant until the transfer of de la Cuesta to Mexico.

Bishop of Michoacan[edit]

On July 25, 1721, he was removed by the King of Spain due to the death of Bustamante and was transferred in Michoacan, Mexico. He was installed as Bishop of Michoacan on April 18, 1724. He died 1 month later on May 30, 1724 at the age of 63.


  • The assassination of Bustamante was mentioned in Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere.
  • A painting entitled “Assassination of Governor Bustamante” was done by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo depicting the friars murdering Bustamante by dragging him down the staircase. The painting is considered a National Treasure of the Philippines and hangs in the Hall of the Masters at the National Museum in Manila.


External links and additional sources[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda
Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Toribio José Cosio y Campo
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Diego Camacho y Ávila
Archbishop of Manila
12 August 1707 – 27 September 1723
Succeeded by
Carlos Bermudez de Castro
Preceded by
Felipe Ignacio Trujillo y Guerrero
Bishop of Michoacán
27 September 1723 – 30 May 1724
Succeeded by
Juan José de Escalona y Calatayud