A scene from the upcoming movie “Maid in Malacañang” starring Cesar Montano as President Ferdinand Marcos and Ruffa Gutierrez as Imelda Marcos.

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — On the eve of its premiere, the controversial film “Maid in Malacañang” and its director Darryl Yap managed to offend a few more people, this time from the religious sector.

This city’s Order of Discalced Carmelites cried foul on Tuesday over a new trailer for the film showing their members playing mahjong with Corazon “Cory” Aquino when the future president sought refuge in their convent at the start of the Edsa People of 1986. Revolution of power in Manila.

Sister Mary Melanie Costillas, prioress of the Carmelite monastery in Cebu City where Aquino stayed for 14 hours for security reasons, said: “Picture the nuns as playing mahjong with Cory Aquino is malicious. This would suggest that while the fate of the country was in jeopardy, we could afford to play games quietly.

“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 were certainly concerned that the military would know where Cory Aquino was and knock on the door of the monastery,” Costillas said in a statement.

Costillas said he was surprised to learn of the trailer’s existence because no one from the film’s production came to see them to gather information about what really happened during Aquino’s stay.

Trivialize

“Any serious screenwriter or filmmaker could have done such elementary diligence before making such a film. After all, many of those nuns from the Carmelite Monastery in Cebu in 1986 are still alive and mentally alert. said Costillas.

The trailer, she said, not only trivialized the convent’s contribution to restoring Filipino democracy, but also called into question the role the Carmelites have played over the past seven decades for the Catholic faithful. from Cebu.

“With the grace of God, we take very seriously his vocation to pray for and with the people. But the footage would imply that while the fate of the country was in the balance, we were just playing mindless games. So if these images were taken as an authentic representation of what really happened, they would cast doubt on the trust people have placed in us,” she added.

Citing an inaccuracy, she said the trailer showed the Carmelites in white robes when they should be brown.

Amid efforts to distort the truth, Costillas said, they continue to pray for Filipino unity “but that unity can only be built on trust and not historical distortion.”

Prayer for safety

Accompanied by her friends from Cebuano, Aquino arrived at the Carmelite monastery around 9 p.m. on February 22, 1986, Mother Mary Aimee Ataviado, the Mother Superior at the time, said in a previous interview with the Inquirer. Housing contemplative nuns under “papal enclosure,” the monastery is off-limits to outsiders and only heads of state are exempt from this rule.

Ataviado, now 93, said they prayed hard for Aquino’s safety when she left the monastery for Manila around 11 a.m. on February 23, 1986.

Two days later, around midnight on February 25, Marcos and his family left Malacañang and were flown by US military aircraft to Hawaii. By then, Aquino had been sworn in as the duly elected president of the Club Filipino in San Juan.

Ataviado then called on Filipinos not to distort the truth about the country’s history. “We have to keep the memory alive. We must continue to tell the story as the Hebrews relived the story of redemption. By paying attention to history, we learn lessons,” she said.

With the support of Senator Imee Marcos, daughter of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos and sister of the President, “Maid in Malacañang” is presented as an account of the last three days in power of the Marcos family before fleeing Malacañang.

Amid criticism from victims of the Martial Law atrocities under the Marcos regime, Yap, 35, said at a promotional event last month that he was “very happy with the attention” his film has generated. .

—WITH A REPORT BY ADOR VINCENT MAYOL

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