MANILA -- Amid backlash over controversial scenes which allegedly sought to distort history, controversial film "Maid in Macañang" gained another fierce critic on Wednesday.
This time, a Catholic bishop directly called for a boycott of the film, about the last 72 hours of the Marcos family in Malacañang before the 1986 People People Revolution toppled the dictatorship.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza called the film "shameless" and said those behind it should issue an apology.
"The producer, scriptwriter, director and those promoting this movie should publicly apologize to the Carmelite nuns, to President Cory Aquino’s family and to the Filipino people," Alminaza said in a report on CBCP News.
The bishop said this after seeing the trailer of the film portraying the late president Corazon "Cory" Aquino playing mahjong with a group of nuns.
It was seen as an allusion to how Aquino, during the People Power Revolution, sought refuge at the Carmelite monastery in Cebu.
The prelate also challenged the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), which is under the Office of the President, to act on the issue.
"Would the MTRCB act responsibly on this and perform its mandated duty?" Alminaza asked.
Earlier, the Carmelite nuns in Cebu slammed the film. Sr. Mary Melanie Costillas, prioress of the Carmelite monastery, said although the nuns in the film were not wearing the brown religious habit of the Carmelites, the allusion to the Carmelite Order in Cebu was "too obvious for anyone to see" if the scenes were portraying the events of February 1986.
"The attempt to distort history is reprehensible. Depicting the nuns as playing mahjong with Cory Aquino is malicious," Costillas said.
Angered by the same mahjong scene, Benedictine nun Sister Mary John Mananzan called the film "ridiculous," "enraging," and "out of this world." The nun also lambasted the film’s attempts at distorting history.
On social media, several Catholic pages, like "Millenial Catholics," "Defensores Fidei Foundation," "Catholic Apologetics PH," and "Catholic Faith Defense Philippines," expressed their solidarity with the Carmelite nuns in Cebu.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who supported the candidacy of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the 2022 elections, also condemned the "malicious attempt to malign" the nuns.
Meanwhile, amid the controversy over the film, Tanggol Kasaysayan, an alliance of historians, teachers, and researchers, has launched its 50-day countdown for the upcoming 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on September 21.
The group called the launch TIPON "to highlight the act of gathering historical materials to combat the distortion of the past and the coming together of people to achieve this goal."
Responding to the Carmelite nuns, director Darryl Yap said there was no need for the nun's "ouch and involvement."
Several historians have criticized Yap's film for alleged historical inaccuracies, which they view as attempts to whitewash the atrocities committed under the previous Marcos rule.
Ferdinand Marcos Sr. ruled for over two decades — a period that saw thousands killed, tortured, incarcerated, and disappeared, especially those who were deemed critics and enemies of his regime.
But after nearly four decades, the Marcoses made a successful political comeback after the triumph of the strongman's only son, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who now occupies the country's highest elected seat that his father once occupied.
Other members of the family remain as powerful as ever, with the Marcoses occupying several local positions within Ilocandia.