Jose Hontiveros was born on 19 March 1889 in Tangalan in the province of Capiz. His parents were Leon Hontiveros and Genoveva Miraflore. Hontiveros graduated valedictorian in 1911 as his bachelor-law degree from the University of Santo Tomas. The same year he also succeeded with the highest score of his year for the entrance examination of the Philippine Office. Afterwards he worked as a lawyer. From 1919 to 1924 he was partner of the firm and later Office Montinola & Hontiveros Hontiveros, Abeto & Tirol.
In 1913, Hontiveros was appointed Justice of the peace in Capiz now Roxas. Following his term as Governor from 1916 to 1919 he was vredesrecher of the province of Capiz. From 1922 to 1928 was Hontiveros member of the Philippine Senate on behalf of the seventh Senate district. Shortly after his term in the Senate, he was appointed as Auxiliary Judge in 1929 (substitute judge) of the Court of First Instance of the 19th judicial district. In 1931 followed a appointment as a judge of the same court. Two years later he became a judge of the Court of First Instance of the 22nd district. A position he held until the following year. In 1934 he was also on the Constitutional Convention delegates on behalf of the 3rd district of Capiz, where the basis for the 1935 Philippine Constitution . Hontiveros was appointed Associate Justice of the Court of appeal. On 25 June 1946 followed a designation in the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Supreme Court of the Philippines. This position he held until 16 October 1947.
Jose Hontiveros died in 1954 at the age of 65. He was married to Vicenta Ronda and had ten children: Daisy, Leon, Alejandro, Eduardo, Renato, Juan, Teresita, Benjamin and Ramon. She was also his granddaughter politician. Another granddaughter Pia Hontiveros was television presenter.