WHAT a gullible media we have.
Since 2016, one Jose Antonio Custodio has been interviewed by so many media outlets ranting against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration and the military. He recently declared that the military would soon topple Duterte, angry at the latter’s termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
He said that before in 2016, when charges were filed against Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th.
Mainstream media — among them the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star, GMA 7, ABS-CBN and the Salim-controled network TV5 — describe Custodio as a “military expert,” “military historian” or a “defense analyst.” He’s been such a regular source of media men’s “analysis” that he complained in his Facebook (FB) account that he was starting to dislike early morning calls from the press.
He doesn’t hide his arrogance and odium for the military, writing on FB: “I just love the idiocy in the Philippine military and Defense sector. So, you want to have a status of forces agreement with China to replace the PH-US VFA?”
Custodio is a fake. His analyses merely express the wishes of the Yellows. He is as much a military expert as I am a nuclear scientist. He hasn’t published anything on military affairs, defense issues and history of the military. Searches in Google (including Google Scholar) and in Academia.edu (a site that has 115 million articles by academics) had zilch on Custodio.
He isn’t even an instructor in any college or university. The closest he can claim to be a historian is his short master’s thesis written in 1999, two decades ago, on an event 75 years ago, the 1945 Battle of Manila. I’ve messaged him several times asking him about his credentials as a military analyst and what papers he has published. He didn’t reply.
The closest to the military he could claim is his FB profile picture, a blurred one, that shows him wearing a khaki shirt in front of a vintage World War 2 bomber.
For somebody who claims to be a defense analyst, the scant but revealing information provided in his FB page reads: “Works at Freelance Mowdel [sic] Past: Office of the President of the Philippines-Malacañang, Consultant, June 2010 to 30 June 2016.” He doesn’t say at all how he makes a living after 2016.
That post points to what Custodio really is: an employee in the Aquino 3rd regime and a straggler of the Yellows’ propaganda force. Obviously, with the mostly anti-Duterte posts in his Facebook account (e.g., “Duterte is a tuta [dog] of China,” a photo with arms locked with Yellow Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros ), Custodio is a Yellow cultist, one who has fooled a gullible Philippine media that he is an objective expert on the military and defense matters.
It seems the main source for media for their elevating this charlatan to the status of an expert is the pompously named “Stratbase ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies” set up in 2016 by President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, both as his tribute to himself (ADR) and as his anti-China, anti-Duterte propaganda venue.
The outfit lists Custodio as one of its 19 “non-resident fellows” (read: contractuals), together with another known anti-Duterte, anti-China writer Richard Javad Heydarian (which it says wrote “close to a thousand articles” on regional security affairs).
It described Custodio as follows: “He has served as a consultant for the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Office of the President. He specializes in military history and has postgraduate studies in history from the University of the Philippines (UP).” (Of course it didn’t mention that the history he specialized in was the 1945 Battle of Manila.)
As in the case of Heydarian, and in contrast to its other non-resident fellows, whose academic background is described at length, nothing more is written there about Custodio. Nothing else on why and how he is a military expert.
Custodio himself has not described exactly what he was doing in Aquino’s office, whether he was a real consultant or simply a contractual employee who fetched coffee for the officials. A source in Malacañang has claimed that the records show that he was at Salary Grade 13 Step 1, which fetches about P25,000 in salary, which is also that of a clerk.
Custodio isn’t a military or defense expert. He is a Yellow propagandist, who amazingly has managed to fool Philippine media for so long.
I wouldn’t have written anything on this propaganda punk if not for the fact that his case points to a very serious flaw of media, which readers must be aware of and which it has to correct, for the nation’s sake.
Philippine media has been gullible, lazy or continues to have a Yellow/Red bias in their choice of “experts” talking on issues. For instance, TV5 has a talk-show program self-importantly titled “The Chiefs,” since the hosts are the editors in chief of the Salim group’s four media outlets. It is these editors’ job to assure the quality of their reporters, that they are not being fooled, or worse paid by people they cover.
Yet this program recently had Custodio as their sole guest for their episode on the VFA’s termination. In the whole 45-minute program, none of these chiefs bothered to ask Custodio, “By the way, what are your credentials for being an expert on security affairs or on defense?”
Were they gullible and lazy to check Custodio’s credentials or did they, who are really Yellows themselves, simply want a Yellow propagandist to monopolize the narrative in their talk show?
The problem is pervasive. The head of a leftist propaganda venue disguised as a research institute calls himself “professor,” and his media interviewer indeed calls him that, in effect, giving this activist who dropped out of college the stature of a PhD, given tenure by a government-recognized university. He’s been actually aping his idol, Communist Party founder who by-lines his articles as “Prof. Jose Ma. Sison,” when he never even became a regular instructor of English at the UP in the 1960s.
Communist cadres assigned by the party’s Central Committee to represent leftist party lists are called collectively by the term they want, the Nationalist Bloc, when the party has long been unmasked as having merely used nationalism as a cover for their aim to topple the democratic system.
Media hasn’t been doing its job when it quotes or features people whom a real expert on the military termed as follows: “Nagtitinda lang ng maruya sa kanto, analyst na.”