Don Custodio

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Don Custodio or Don Custodio de Salazar y Sanchez de Monteredondo is one of the fictional Spanish characters in Jose Rizal’s sequel to Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo . He has held high positions in the government and the students, Isagani and Makaraig, sought help for his support for their planned Spanish academy for Filipino students.

Character description

Don Custodio was still young when he came to the Philippines and he was able find a wife who belonged to a prominent family. With his wife’s wealth, he was able to build a business and do jobs for the government. He is daring and this helped him achieve high positions in the government even without having the proper qualification to do so. He was also able to position himself in prestigious society groups such as the Obras Pias and the Economic Society.

Don Custodio missed Manila during the time he was forced to go back to Spain after being diagnosed with a liver ailment. Over there, he is just a nobody. Yet, upon returning to the Philippines, he namedropped prominent people in Madrid as his close friends to appear important. Thus, people began to consult him if ever reforms are to be made. He is a proud liberal and his recommendations can become clever and, at the same time, odd.

Don Custodio believes that the natives should not be allowed to develop themselves and they should only be slaves. He thinks that this is in accordance to the natural order of things.

Role in the novel

The student leaders proposing for the establishment of a Spanish academy for Filipinos sought Don Custodio’s assistance through his mistress, the dancer, Pepay. His recommendation was to put up the school but under the management of a religious order. The decision was half-heartedly accepted by the students that they “celebrated” it with a feast where they mocked Padre Irene, Don Custodio, and even the Chinese merchant, Quiroga.

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