Catholic Church

San Carlos Bishop calls for boycott of ‘Maid in Malacañang’ 

Ryan Macasero

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San Carlos Bishop calls for boycott of ‘Maid in Malacañang’ 

BISHOP. San Carlos, Negros Occidental Bishop Gerardo Alminaza.

Gerry Alminaza's Facebook page

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza also called on the MTRCB to review the film

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A Negros Occidental prelate called for the boycott of controversial historical fiction film Maid in Malacañang. 

“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,” San Carlos, Negros Occidental Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said in a statement on Wednesday, August 3, asking director Darryl Yap to issue a public apology. 

Alminaza was reacting to the scene portraying the Carmelite nuns of Cebu City playing mahjong.

Alminaza also called on the MTRCB to review the film.

“Would the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)… act responsibly on this and perform its mandated duty?” he said.

In an earlier statement, the nuns denied playing mahjong with the late president on the eve of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution. 

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Cebu Carmelite Sisters slam mahjong scene in ‘Maid in Malacañang’

Cebu Carmelite Sisters slam mahjong scene in ‘Maid in Malacañang’

“The pictures depict the late Cory Aquino together with some religious sisters. 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,” Sister Mary Melanie Costillas, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery, said in a statement published on Tuesday, August 2.

Many Cebuanos and Catholics were offended by the scene because of the Carmelites sisters’ stature in the community.

The cloistered nuns live a life confined in the monastery and devote their time to prayer and spiritual life. 

Monisgnor Joseph Tan, who spoke on behalf of the nuns on Tuesday, August 2, said the monastery is the “go-to” place for Cebuanos in need of prayer. 

“The Cebuanos have known the sisters for a long time,” Tan said.

“They have been with us since the 1950s, the chapel of the sisters in Mabolo is the default go-to place for people who are experiencing some form of crisis or trouble in their lives; whether it’s a health crisis, a relational crisis, a money crisis, they run to the chapel of the sisters to pray,” Tan added.

Tan also clarified mahjong – as with any other game – in itself is not banned for recreation, for as long as no monetary bets are involved.

Still, the sisters do not play mahjong due to its association with gambling.

In a story published in PhilStar Life on August 4, Aquino’s eldest daughter Ballsy also denied her mother played mahjong with the Carmelite nuns. 

“Mom NEVER PLAYED MAHJONG during EDSA — I can’t imagine how she could have — and her presidency,” Ballsy told PhilStar LIFE. 

The film opened in cinemas on Wednesday, August 3. –

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Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at