Claim: Carmelite nuns were photographed playing mahjong with former president Cory Aquino
A certain photograph of former president Cory Aquino is circulating on social media and is being used to justify the controversial mahjong scene in the promotional videos of the film “Maid in Malacañang”. The photograph shows Cory Aquino sitting at the table and eating with former House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. while a Carmelite nun is standing at the back .
Contrary to what the promotional videos depicted, where Cory Aquino was playing mahjong with nuns wearing brown garbs (implied to be the Carmelite Sisters of Cebu) as the Marcoses made their escape, the photograph bears no sign of any mahjong game happening.
When “Maid in Malacañang” hit the screens, the scene featured the nuns wearing different outfits instead of the identifiable brown garbs of the Carmelite nuns. Critics speculate that the promotional videos purposely implied that the nuns were Carmelite nuns as a form of marketing strategy meant to provoke and instigate reactions from the crowd.
Others said that the negative impact made by that trailer affected the movie’s image which was why Yap changed the scene shown in the movie.
The prioress of the Carmelite nuns of Cebu, Sister Mary Melanie Costillas, OCD, released a statement denying the accusation that they were just playing mahjong while the country was in ruins. She said, “The truth was that we were then praying, fasting, and making other forms of sacrifices…”
Meanwhile, Darryl Yap’s “research” team cited a 1988 article from the magazine Mother Jones  that supposedly proves that Cory was indeed playing mahjong with the nuns. However, their “research” team misinterpreted the article. The author, Anne Nelson, even clarified the misinterpretation herself. In a tweet , she stated:
Correction: my 1989 article reported that 1) Cory Aquino visited Pink Sisters for prayer; 2) she was a friend of Christine Tan; 3) Christine Tan gave talks to ladies who sometimes played mah-jongg. It said nothing about Aquino or Tan playing mah-jongg. Pardon previous typo.
Why we fact-checked this: The blatant distortion of history in the name of creativity is something that must be monitored, lest “creative interpretations” replace the actual history of our nation.