'Maid in Malacañang' director to Carmelite nuns: Nothing wrong with Cory playing mahjong

·5 min read

THE director of the controversial film "Maid in Malacañang" said there was nothing wrong with their recent trailer showing the late President Corazon Aquino playing mahjong with nuns.

In a statement posted on his official Facebook page VinCentiments on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, Maid in Malacañang director and writer Darryl Yap said the scene wherein Aquino and the nuns were playing mahjong was meant to pass the time and was a game between friends.

"Wala rin pong masama sa 'Mahjong' pampalipas-oras man o pangmagkakaiibigang laro," Yap said.

Yap's statement came just after the sisters of the Carmelite Monastery in Cebu reacted to his movie's trailer that depicted Aquino playing mahjong with the Carmelite nuns when the late President was in Cebu just after the first Edsa People Power Revolution broke out.

In a new statement sent to Cebu media on Tuesday morning, August 2, the Carmelite sisters claimed that some scenes of the controversial movie were "historically distorted" and were made without their consultation.

READ: Nuns with Cory during Edsa 'not amused' with ‘Maid in Malacañang’ trailer

Sister Mary Melanin Costillas, the prioress of the Carmelite Monastery in Mabolo, condemned the scenes from a trailer of the controversial movie.

Costillas said that while the habits of the nuns shown in the movie were not similar to their habits, the events shown in the trailer were an "allusion" to Aquino's encounter with the Carmelite sisters on the night of February 22, 1986.

"The nuns are not wearing our brown religious habit. But if these pictures are portraying the events of February 1986, then the allusion to the Carmelite Order in Cebu is too obvious for anyone not to see," Costillas said.

She added that no one from the movie's production approached them to gather information on what really happened.

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

Malicious, reprehensible

Costillas added that she considered the scene of the movie's trailer where the nuns were playing mahjong with Aquino as "malicious" and was a "reprehensible attempt" to distort history.

"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. While in our prayer, we were constantly in fear that the military would come to know of the whereabouts of Ms. Cory Aquino and would soon be knocking at the monastery's door. We knew the dangers of allowing Ms. Cory Aquino to hide in the monastery. But we also prayerfully discerned that the risk was worth it, as our contribution to put an end to a dictatorial regime. Indeed, we were ready to defend her at all costs," Costillas said.

Costillas said the pictures of Aquino and the nuns playing mahjong trivialize whatever contribution that they had made toward helping restore democracy in the country, adding that the Cebuano faithful have sought their help to pray over them.

"Over 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 in all seriousness. But the pictures would imply that while the country's fate was in the balance, we mindlessly were simply playing games. Thus, if these pictures were taken as authentic representation of what really happened, they would put into doubt the trust the people have placed in us," she added.

"Lastly, we are praying for the unity of Filipinos. But this unity can only be built on truth and not on historical distortion," Costillas added.

Film not necessarily accurate

Msgr. Joseph Tan, the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cebu, urged the public who plan to watch the controversial movie to not treat it as though it was real.

Tan, who was requested by the Carmelite nuns to speak on their behalf, told reporters on Tuesday noon, August 2, that the film "is clearly a fictional rendition of history, we called it the historical fictionalization."

"It may be based on the events that took place in history, but there is always a certain amount of poetic license, so much so, that the details may necessarily be as accurate as actually unfolded in the history," Tan said.

Tan also reminded everyone that they can watch the movie but treat them according to their genre.

He emphasized that the film was made to entertain and he asked everyone not to overreact too much on the film.

"Just take this movie for what it is, as a form of entertainment and realize its genre is one of theatre of the historical fictionalization of the event of the history," he added.

Watch the film

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

"If they are ostentatious about details, I don't think there is a need for this 'ouch' and 'involvement,'" Yap added.

But in a photo that would serve as a continuation of the statement, Yap said there was no need for them to consult the nuns.

"Tungkol po sa point ni Monsignor (Joseph) Tan at ng Carmelite nuns, 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, at walang binanggit na 'Huy mga Carmelite Sisters, ano na?!'" he added.

Yap added that he would rather consult "Valak," the demon nun known for its appearance in the horror movie "The Conjuring," if he wanted to get points on how to make his film.

"Hihingi ako ng advise kay Valak, kung paano, kailan at kanino siya kumunsulta," Yap added. (JKV, EHP)

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