Nuns with Cory during Edsa’s ‘malicious’ movie trailer

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FICTION. Msgr. Joseph Tan (above), spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cebu, calls the film ‘Maid in Malacañang’ a ‘fictional depiction of history’ and not necessarily accurate, when speaking to reporters at the seminary of San Carlos in Cebu City on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. The trailer for the film (inset, screenshot from VinCentiments FB page) sparked outrage from nuns of the Order of Discalced Carmelites after depicting nuns playing mahjong with future president Corazon Aquino in a scene seemingly indicative of her time at Cebu’s Carmelite monastery during the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. from power. (Count H. Padronia)

MEMBERS of the Discalced Carmelite Order based in Mabolo, Cebu City have condemned the new trailer for the controversial film ‘Maid in Malacañang’ which showed a group of nuns playing mahjong with the late President Corazon Aquino just after the Edsa People Power Revolution broke out.

“God forgive them. This is totally fake news,” a law enforcement official told SunStar Cebu on Monday, August 1, 2022, which also marked the 13th anniversary of Aquino’s death.

The official, who declined to be named, was one of the nuns who hosted Aquino in Cebu on February 22, 1986, the day the Edsa Revolution that ended the Marcos dictatorship broke out in Manila.

The director of the controversial film, however, defended the depiction, saying there was nothing wrong with the recent trailer showing Aquino playing mahjong with nuns.

In a statement posted to his official VinCentiments Facebook page on Tuesday, August 2, “Maid in Malacañang” director and writer Darryl Yap said the scene where Aquino and the nuns are playing mahjong was meant to show them just passing the time. and have a game with friends.

“Wala rin pong masama sa ‘Mahjong’ pampalipas-oras man o pangmagkakaiibigang laro,” Yap said.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia disagreed.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Garcia said, “I stand with the Carmelite nuns of Cebu. And I condemn any malicious attempt to slander them.

Yap’s statement came after the sisters of the Cebu Carmelite Monastery sent a statement to the Cebu media on Tuesday morning, August 2, decrying a scene from the controversial film as “historically distorted” and made without consulting them.

Sr. Mary Melanin Costillas, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery of Mabolo, said that while the habits of the nuns shown in the film were not similar to their habits, the events shown in the trailer were an “hint” at the meeting of Aquino with the Carmelites. sisters on the night of February 22, 1986.

“Nuns don’t wear our brown religious habit. But if these images depict the events of February 1986, then the allusion to the Carmelite Order of Cebu is too obvious for anyone to miss,” Costillas said.

She added that no one from the film’s production approached them to gather information about what really happened.

Costillas said many of the nuns who were with Aquino at the time were still alive and actively serving the monastery, including Sr. Mary Aimee Ataviado, who was the superior at the time of the revolution.

Malicious, reprehensible

Costillas called the scene in the film’s trailer where the nuns play mahjong with Aquino “malicious” and a “reprehensible attempt” to twist history.

“The truth was that we were then praying, fasting and making other forms of sacrifice for peace in this country and for the choice of the people to prevail. During our prayer, we constantly feared that the army would know where Mrs. Cory Aquino was and would soon knock on the door of the monastery. We knew the dangers of allowing Mrs. Cory Aquino to hide in the monastery. But we also discerned in prayer that the risk was worth it, as our contribution to ending a dictatorial regime. Indeed, we were ready to defend it at all costs,” Costillas said.

Costillas said photos of Aquino and nuns playing mahjong trivialized their contribution to restoring democracy in the country, adding that Cebuano worshipers have asked for their help to pray for them.

“For more than seven decades, Cebuanos have asked us to pray for their intentions. With the grace of God, we take this vocation to pray for and with the people very seriously. But the footage would imply that while the fate of the country hung in the balance, we were just mindlessly playing games. So if these photos were taken as an authentic representation of what really happened, they would cast doubt on the trust people have placed in us,” she added.

“Finally, we pray for the unity of Filipinos. But that unity can only be built on truth and not on historical distortion,” Costillas added.

Aquino, a victim of voter fraud in the February 7, 1986 snap elections called by dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was in Cebu to call for civil disobedience by boycotting businesses owned by Marcos’ cronies.

When Assemblyman Antonio Cuenco heard that Marcos had issued a shoot-to-kill order against Aquino, he and his wife Nancy hid the future president in the Carmelite monastery of Barangay Mabolo. Aquino left the monastery around 11 a.m. the next day to fly to Manila.

Not necessarily accurate

Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cebu, urged audiences not to treat the film as if it were real.

Tan, who the Carmelite nuns asked to speak on their behalf, told reporters at noon on Tuesday that the film “is clearly a fictionalized interpretation of history. We called it historical fictionalization.

“It may be based on events that took place in the story, but there’s always some poetic license to it, so much so that the details aren’t necessarily as specific as what actually happened in the story. story,” Tan said.

“Just take this film for what it is, as a form of entertainment and realize that its genre is historical fiction theater of the events of history,” he added.

Why consult?

Director Yap, in his statement, urged the nuns to watch the film.

In a photo that served as a follow-up to the statement, Yap said there was no need for them to consult with the nuns.

“Tungkol po sa point ni Monsignor (Joseph) Tan at ng carmelites, na hindi ko po sila kinunsulta sa eksena – hindi ko po kasi naisip na kailangan,” Yap said.

“Gaya po ng sinabi nila, Hindi naman po nakabrown, and walang binanggit na ‘Huy mga Carmelite Sisters, ano na?!”, he added. (As they said, the nuns didn’t wear brown.)

Yap added that he would rather consult with “Valak,” the demon nun known for appearing in the horror film “The Conjuring,” if he wanted to get points for how to make his film.

“Hihingi ako ng advises kay Valak, kung paano, kailan and kanino siya kumunsulta,” added Yap.

“Maid in Malacañang” tells the story of the late dictator’s last three days in power before he was deposed in the People Power Revolution.

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