The trailer of the upcoming film ‘Maid in Malacanang’ shows former Philippine president, Corazon Aquino, playing mahjong, a Chinese solitaire game associated with gambling, with Carmelite nuns. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)

By Joseph Peter Calleja

August 3 2022

Offense taken at scene appearing to show Carmelite nuns ‘gambling’ with late president Corazon Aquino.

A group of nuns in the Philippines has condemned a controversial film about the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for “a manipulated portrayal” of their congregation with former president, Corazon Aquino.

Members of the Order of the Carmelites in Cebu City in the Visayas region criticized the upcoming film “Maid in Malacañang” after its trailer was released on Aug. 1.

It portrayed the late president playing mahjong, a Chinese solitaire game associated with gambling, with Carmelite nuns.

The film depicted the last 72 hours of Marcos, the father of the current president, and his family in the Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the Philippine president, before his ouster following a popular uprising in 1986.

The nuns said there was no historical basis in the portrayal of Aquino playing mahjong with their sisters.

“God forgive them. That’s totally fake news,” said one nun who wished to remain anonymous.

“She was tired after attending the rallies so she came here to sleep, only to sleep”

The nun said they were not amused with the portrayal, especially the part where Aquino was gambling with their sisters.

“We are not happy with the story. All of this is fake because I was with the former president when the people power [revolution] broke out,” she added.

“Aquino was brought to our [Carmelite] monastery around nine in the evening after attending several rallies or demonstrations in Cebu City. That was Feb 22, 1986, the day after the People Power Revolution started,” she said.

“Nothing of that sort [playing mahjong] happened. She [Aquino] was tired after attending the rallies so she came here to sleep, only to sleep. But I am sure she prayed,” the sister added.

She said President Aquino left the monastery the next morning to fly to Manila.

Actress Giselle Sanchez, who played the role of Aquino in the film, said she took the role to give a chance to the Marcos family to tell their side of the story.

“The people who created this perverted film can shine in hell”

Marcos is remembered by many for human rights abuses committed during his presidency and for enriching himself and his family while in office.

“I began to realize, all this time, what I have been reading in historical books and print media and watching and listening on television and radio during the eighties and nineties was the other camp’s story because they were the ones running the administration,” Sanchez posted on Facebook, referring to the post-Marcos years.

“Now that the coin has flipped, let’s give a chance for the Marcoses to tell their side of the story, the way they know it. Isn’t it just fair for us to look at both sides of the coin before we cast our judgments?” she said.

Human rights activist and staunch Marcos critic Father Flavie Villanueva, however, said that telling the other side of the story should be based on fact, not historical revisionism.

“To distort history is a great injustice. To do it in such a manner that maligns the good name of both the faith and the individuals, just so others may shine, this is pure evil!  The people who created this perverted film can shine in hell,” Father Villanueva told UCA News.

UCA News