Don Ruperto B. Montinola

Taken from “Jaro – Home of the Elite” (1969):

This 1969, thirty years after his death, Don Ruperto Montinola is still being remembered as the “Colossus of the South.” There is a halo around his name which the years cannot erase.

Don Ruperto was born in Bago, Negros Occidental, on March 18, 1869, the son of Don Juan de Dios Montinola and Doña Martina Benedicto. After completing his primary education in the Jaro Seminary in Iloilo, he went to Manila and enrolled in the San Juan de Letran College. From there, he transferred to the University of Santo Tomas where he was graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in 1887, and Bachelor of Laws in 1895.

His public career began in 1901 when he was appointed Provincial Fiscal of Iloilo. He resigned from that position in 1903 due to ill health and went to Japan to recuperate. Upon his return about two years later, he was reappointed to his former position, and served in that capacity until shortly before his election as Provincial Governor of Iloilo in 1908.

When his term of office expired in 1912, he retired to private life. He devoted the next ten years to legal practice and farming and his efforts enabled him to accumulate a considerable fortune. Through the insistence of friends and the leaders of the minority party, he was prevailed upon to run for Governor of Iloilo in 1922, and was elected.

ruperto_montinola_portrait

In 1931, he was elected Senator from the 7th District of the Philippines. It was in that capacity that he favored the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act. He was first Vice-President of the Constitutional Convention, and was elected to the National Assembly in 1935, and was re-elected in 1938.

Don Ruperto died on Feb. 10, 1940, at the age of 71 years. He was survived by his wife, Doña Basa Benedicto de Montinola, and his six children, Aurelio, Remedios, Otilla, Maria, Vicente, and Gloria.

His body was laid in state in the session hall of the National Assembly, where thousands paid tribute. After necrological services, the body was transferred to the provincial capital of Iloilo, where again it was given due honors. After solemn religious rites, burial took place at the cemetery of Jaro.

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