“But this unity can only be built on truth and not on historical distortion.”
The Carmelite Sisters on Tuesday decried a dramedy’s depiction of them as nuns playing mahjong with the character of former president Cory Aquino set in the aftermath of the 1986 snap elections.
The Cebu-based monastery said it is aware of the pictures circulating online from the film “Maid in Malacañang,” a dramedy supposedly reenacting the Marcoses’ last 72 hours in the Philippines before fleeing to Hawaii.
The stills depict the character of Aquino as ordering the Marcoses to leave the country through a phone call and then playing mahjong, a social gambling game, with nuns.
In reality, Aquino was inclined to grant late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr‘s request to stay for at least two more days before flying to Hawaii.
However, her party was not warm to the idea.
Aquino then called US Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Bosworth to say that she could not grant Marcos’ request.
When the diplomat had called her back, it was to inform her that the dictator had left.
The Carmelite Sisters, in a very rare statement, also slammed the scene of them playing mahjong. No one from the movie’s production team had approached them “to gather information on what really happened,” they said.
“Any serious scriptwriter or movie director could have shown such elementary diligence before making such movie. After all, many of those nuns in Carmelite Monastery of Cebu 1986 are still very much alive and mentally alert. Among them is Sr. Mary Aimee Ataviado, who was the superior at that time,” the nuns said in a statement released by a reporter.
“The attempt to distort history is reprehensible. 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,” they added.
The Carmelite Sisters said the pictures “trivialize” their contributions to restoring the country’s democracy at that time.
“We are praying for the unity of Filipinos. But this unity can only be built on truth and not on historical distortion,” part of their statement reads.
‘Contemplative or cloistered’
Religious organization Frater Rhexx backed the nuns and said they are “far from how the movie depicted them.”
It added that the Carmelites are “contemplative or cloistered” nuns “who stay inside the walls of the convent, offering their days and nights in prayer and silent contemplation.”
“These nuns took vows of chastity, poverty, enclosure and obedience. Let’s respect them! It’s the least we can do to thank them for offering their lives to pray for all of us every day,” the organization said.
An account published by a news website says that Nancy, the wife of Assemblyman Antonio Cuenco, had called the nuns after receiving word that Marcos had a “shoot to kill” order against the widow.
According to the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, Aquino was the one who won the 1986 snap election at that time.
The widow was in Cebu to resume the Civil Disobedience Campaign against the Marcos regime. It includes boycotting businesses owned by the dictator’s cronies.
But when there was word to end her life, measures were done to protect her.
Sister Aimee, the superior, said that they let Aquino stay in the monastery since they “recognized her as the rightful president of the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, the director of the dramedy said there is “nothing wrong with mahjong,” in response to the Carmelites.
“Pampalipas-oras man o pangmagkakaibigang-laro,” he added.