Armand V. Fabella was well-known for his long public service in the Philippine economy and public management that spanned six administrations since the mid 1950s. He started as an economist way back 1955 under the then President Ramon Magsaysay where he worked in an independent commission to study the fledgling central bank. He was the Director-General of the Program Implementation Agency (PIA), while also holding the position as the presidential assistant on economic affairs under former President Diosdado Macapagal in the 1960s. After Macapagal’s term, Ferdinand Marcos appointed him as a member of the Government Reorganization Commission that restructured government departments where he was assigned in the economic services reform the time the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) was created.
During the 1980s where Corazon Aquino presided a revolutionary government, Fabella resigned as chief of the government reorganization body but reenter the service as per the request of then Secretary Jaime Ongpin. Due to his previous posts, Fabella helped out in bridging the preceding programs and proposals for economic and financial reforms. His service in the national government extended as he became the Secretary of Education from 1992 to 1994, following the appointment of the former President Fidel Ramos who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Merit in 1998. In the mid-2000s, Fabella became the Chairperson of the United Coconut Planters Bank under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
While working in the government, Fabella kept his involvement in the development of Jose Rizal College (now Jose Rizal University) where he practiced his vocation as an educator and later on presided over the institution he inherited from his father. He was also an active lecturer of the Philippine Executive Academy (now Development Academy of the Philippines) of the University of the Philippines. Fabella also worked as a consultant for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Alongside these, he was among the early founders of the Philippine Economic Society, serving as its first president. In 1975, he became the Chairperson of the Philippine Social Science Council.
Coming from a wealthy family, Fabella had the privilege to study at renowned international schools. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University in the early 1950s. With the same program, he finished his master’s degree from the Jose Rizal College. He took a year of graduate study at the London School of Economics.