Gwen Garcia defends Cebu’s Carmelite sisters

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Cbeu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia speaks to reporters on May 10, 2022. Garcia condemned the
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu, Philippines speaking to reporters on May 10, 2022. Garcia condemned the "malicious attempt to malign" Carmelite sisters in the pro-Marcos movie "Maid in Malacañang." (Screenshot from CDN Digital video)

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia took to Facebook her contempt for the “malicious attempt to malign” the sisters of Carmelite Monastery in her home province, as portrayed in the movie “Maid in Malacañang.

“I stand with the Carmelite nuns of Cebu,” Garcia said on her Facebook account.

The nuns were seen in the movie playing mahjong with the late President Cory Aquino in February 1986, in the midst of the EDSA People Power Revolt.

Garcia’s statement comes hours after the Carmelite sisters issued a statement calling out the movie for its irresponsible and untrue portrayal of what really transpired during that period, saying that nobody from the movie’s team ever consulted them about the particular scene.

“Any serious scriptwriter or movie director could have shown such elementary diligence before making such movie,” Sr. Mary Melanie Costillas, Prioress of Carmelite Monastery, said in a statement. “After all, many of those nuns in Carmelite Monastery of Cebu 1986 are still very much alive and mentally alert.”

They also called the “attempt to distort history” as “reprehensible,” adding that this scene trivializes their religious order’s contribution in the restoration of democracy in the country.

“Depicting the nuns as playing mah-jong with Cory Aquino is malicious. It would suggest that while the fate of the country was in peril, we could afford to leisurely play games. The truth was that we were then praying, fasting and making other forms of sacrifices for peace in this country and for the people’s choice to prevail,” Costillas said.

“[I]f these pictures would be taken as authentic representation of what really happened, they would put into doubt the trust that the people have placed in us,” she added.

The movie’s director, Darryl Yap, said in response to the nun’s statement that he sees nothing wrong with portraying them as playing mahjong as a pastime, and attached a link to an article he supposedly used as reference to the scene.

“Maid in Malacañang,” expected to be out in Cinemas on Aug. 3, has been slammed by critics and activists as it promotes historical revisionism and outright disinformation about the brutality of the Marcos dictatorship.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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