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Cory Aquino Mahjong scene: Giselle Sanchez responds to backlash

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
Cory Aquino Mahjong scene: Giselle Sanchez responds to backlash
Giselle Sanchez as Cory Aquino in a scene in “Maid in Malacañang.”
Viva Films

MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen years ago yesterday, President Corazon “Cory” Aquino succumbed to complications due to colorectal cancer. Actress Giselle Sanchez marked Cory’s death anniversary by explaining why she accepted to portray the former president in controversial flick “Maid in Malacañang.”

In a lengthy post posted on her Facebook page, Giselle shared the contents of her Manila Bulletin column, “Gossip Girl.”

“For legal purposes, I will not mention any name but will refer to my role as ‘her character’ as I do play one of the characters of a movie. First and foremost, the question that people will raise is why did I accept ‘her character’,” Giselle began.

According to her, first and foremost, she accepted the role since she had been a big fan of director Darryl Yap and has always wanted to do a project with him.

“I have always wanted to do a project with Direk Daryl Yap as I am a big fan of his works as a writer and director starting from 'Jowable' to 'Gluta' to 'Revirginized' that starred my idol Sharon Cuneta. I must say, Direk Daryl Yap is indeed the most brilliant director of his time. Yap told me, ‘We want an intelligent and educated lady to play her role’. And that was the selling piece - Direk Darryl Yap plus the requirements to play ‘her character’,” Sanchez explained.

Giselle admitted that she felt nervous upon receiving the script and reading her controversial line for the film.

“My heart started pounding when I saw the line, ‘Get them out of the Philippines.’. In my mind, this was something I did not know, I haven't read, this was something new.”

She professed that she knew she would be bashed for accepting the job.

“And anything new will receive only two reactions, positive reactions and negative reactions. I had to physically prepare myself. I was one hundred percent sure I will be bashed for performing ‘her character’. As an actress , will this be worth it?” 

Although thinking twice before accepting the role, Giselle, however, decided to push through after hearing Sen. Imee Marcos’ explanation for the scene. Imee is the film’s creative director and one of its producers.

“Before I fully accepted the role, I wanted to hear it from the creative producer of 'Maid in Malacañang', I wanted to know if what was written in my script was the truth. So I personally texted Sen. Imee Marcos and she texted back in Filipino, ‘Yun daw ang sabi ng mga Kano.’ (That is what the Americans told us),” Giselle shared.

She admitted that she solely relied on what Imee told her and did not mention about doing other research.

“With what Sen. Imee told me, I began to realize, all this time, what I have been reading in historical books and print media and watching and listening on television and radio during the eighties and nineties was the other camp’s side of the story because they were the ones’ sitting in the administration. Now that the coin has flipped, let’s give a chance for the Marcoses to tell their side of the story, the way they know it. Isn’t it just fair for us to look at both sides of the coin before we cast our judgments? Lastly Direk Daryl Yap would like to remind everybody that, ‘Maid in Malacañang is NOT a bio-pic. This is a story of a family’.”

Giselle’s post came after she received backlash for the scene showing Cory playing Mahjong with nuns, which many netizens found to be insulting to both the late president and to the sisters.

According to a SunStar report, the nuns were “appalled” by the movie since according to them, no such thing really happened when they sheltered Aquino in Cebu on Feb. 22, 1986, the first day of EDSA People Power Revolution in Manila.

A convent official recalled to SunStar that Aquino was brought by officials of the opposition at around 9 p.m. in the monastery, right after she attended rallies in Cebu, because she and fellow opposition members were reportedly being followed by assassins. 

"She came here only to sleep. Gikapoy gane kaayo siya kay gikan man to siya ni-attend ug mga rallies ato," the official narrated, adding that Aquino immediately left the monastery at around 11 a.m. the next day to return to Manila.

‘Laglagan’ portion

During the movie’s recent red carpet screening in SM North Edsa, Imee told the press that their story waited 36 years to be told.

“Maraming salamat narito kayo kasama namin mapapanood ang sine for the first time,” Imee said in a short speech prior to the screening.

“This is a story that has taken its time in telling. It’s been a 36-year journey. And I am so happy that you are taking the first step with us to tell the tale.”

Apart from cameo tirades against Cory and her daughter, actress-TV host Kris Aquino, the movie also dropped tidbits about Imee, her brother President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and their mom, former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

RELATED: 'Katips' producer challenges 'Maid in Malacañang'

CORY AQUINO

GISELLE SANCHEZ

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