What Martial Law? Marcoses Get Star Treatment in New Film. | Big Indy News
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What Martial Law? Marcoses Get Star Treatment in New Film.



MANILA — Even before its opening night last week, “Maid in Malacanang” was shaping up to be the most talked-about film of the year in the Philippines.

The almost two-hour drama portrays the Marcos family’s last days in the presidential palace before being forced into exile by a pro-democracy revolt in 1986.

“We did everything for this country after World War II, only to be destroyed by the people who yearn for power,” a sobbing Imelda R. Marcos tells her son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in one scene. “Remember this, we will never be able to return after we leave. They will do everything so the Filipino people will hate us.”

A teary-eyed Mr. Marcos, played by the young actor Diego Loyzaga, consoles his mother as he replies, “I promise, I don’t know how or when, but we will return.”

The Marcoses returned to the Philippines in the 1990s, but the family’s biggest comeback happened in May, when Mr. Marcos, the son and namesake of the former dictator, was elected president in the most consequential race in three decades. The release of “Maid in Malacanang,” a big-budget production starring two famous actors, is seen as a sort of victory lap for the new president and his family.

“This is a work of truth,” Imee Marcos said at the movie’s premiere. One of Mr. Marcos’s sisters, she was the movie’s creative producer and executive producer. “We waited 36 years for this story to come out.”

Despite the corruption and tax evasion cases against the family, many Filipinos consider the Marcoses something like royalty, an idea that the film plays on while furthering the myth that they were victims of a political vendetta.

More than 30 million people voted for Mr. Marcos in May, allowing him to clinch the presidency with the largest vote margin in more than 30 years. Nearly half the country believes the family was unjustly forced to flee.

But many of Mr. Marcos’s detractors say he won the election because of a yearslong campaign to rewrite Marcos family history and the legacy of the father’s brutal dictatorship. “Maid in Malacanang,” they say, is just the latest attempt to rewrite the narrative.

The movie is told through the eyes of three maids who worked for the Marcoses during the years leading up the 1986 People Power revolution, when hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of Manila to protest against a family that they saw as corrupt.

The film portrays the former dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, who ruled the Philippines for over two decades, as a soft leader incapable of violence — a popular talking point among Marcos family supporters online. The movie also portrays the Marcoses as ordinary people who love simple food, even as they surround themselves with designer bags and jewelry.

What the film does not mention: the widespread public anger over the family’s excesses, such as Imelda Marcos’s 1,060 pairs of shoes. Also missing is any mention of the tens of thousands of people who were tortured during martial law.

“I was not alive during the term of president Marcos, but I was surprised to see a different story, different from what I heard from other people,” said Maricar Amores Faypon-Sicat, a moviegoer who saw the film on opening night.

“I did not know that he wanted to avoid bloodshed, and until the last minute, he was thinking of the Filipino people,” said Ms. Amores Faypon-Sicat, 29.

Darryl Yap, the director, said the decision to make the film came only after the presidential election, though he had done some preliminary work ahead of that time. He said the landslide win for Mr. Marcos was “an overwhelming testament that the Filipino people are ready to hear the side of the Marcoses.”

Speaking to a select audience at the July 29 premiere, Mr. Yap said the film was the first time that viewers were given an opportunity to watch a film about the Marcos family that was not based on the opposition’s narrative.

Not everyone has been receptive.

Members of the Roman Catholic clergy condemned the depiction of Corazon Aquino, the leader of the opposition, playing mahjong with nuns from the Carmelite monastery in Cebu Province at the height of the protests. One leader of the church has called for a boycott of the movie.

Sister Mary Melanie Costillas, the head of the monastery, said the truth was that the nuns were praying and fasting during the demonstrations, fearful that the elder Mr. Marcos would find Mrs. Aquino, who was sheltering at the monastery to avoid being detained. At that time, there were reports that Mr. Marcos had issued a shoot-to-kill order against Mrs. Aquino.

“The attempt to distort history is reprehensible,” Sister Costillas said in a statement. She said that the mahjong scene “would trivialize whatever contribution we had to democracy.”

The actress playing Irene Marcos, the Marcoses’ youngest child, fueled outrage after she likened the accusations against the family and the details of the father’s human rights abuses to “gossip.”

Historians and artists say the movie has opened up a new front in the battle against misinformation in the Philippines, taking something that was once mostly online and bringing it into a new domain.

“I now feel that the struggle has shifted to the cultural sphere,” said Bonifacio Ilagan, 71, a renowned playwright. He said that the movie mainly targets the younger generation who never experienced martial law. “They are vulnerable to disinformation. They are the market of the film because they lack historical sense.”

Mr. Ilagan, who was tortured during the Marcos years, has teamed up with Joel Lamangan, a well-known movie director, to make a film to counter the narrative of “Maid in Malacanang.” Mr. Lamangan was the first member of the local directors guild to publicly denounce the Marcos-backed film as “pure nonsense,” which he said resulted in death threats.

They expect financing their project to be a challenge. “It will be an uphill climb because we have no producer and we have no money,” said Mr. Lamangan, 69, who is also a martial law victim. “But we are trying to do crowdfunding.”

“Maid in Malacanang” was bankrolled by a major local film production company known for producing blockbusters in the Philippines.

The underlying narrative of the film is centered on the legacy of the elder Mr. Marcos and how people will remember him. In one scene, a wistful Mr. Marcos asks Irene as she begs him to leave the palace: “How will I face my grandchildren? Their grandfather is a soldier, but he retreated from war.”

A weeping Irene responds: “I will make sure that the truth will come out and history will tell your grandkids who you really are.”

Mr. Marcos tells his daughter that the opposition was “mad at us because we come from the province. They are mad at us because the people love us. But still, I can’t make myself get angry at them.”

At the premiere, the audience applauded.

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The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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