A major broadsheet on Wednesday announced it is suspending the publication of a widely popular comic strip after a recent issue drew flak online.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer said it has pulled out “Pugad Baboy” from its comics section, following online outrage over a strip about a Catholic school for girls.
On June 4, the comic strip, penned by Apolonio “Pol” Medina, discussed Catholic hypocrisy and alluded to St. Scholastica as a school riddled with lesbians.
A character in the strip said: "Sa St. Scho e wala kang makikitang magandang kulasa na walang girlfriend (In St. Scholastica you can't find a 'kulasa' who doesn't have a girlfriend.)"
Kulasa is a term used to refer to students in the exclusive school for girls run by nuns.
Another character said: "Di kaya tongril din 'yung mga madre (Could it be that the nuns are also lesbian?)"
The strip has stirred violent reactions online, with some St. Scholastica alumna posting their comments on the Inquirer website itself.
Pending investigation by the Reader's Advocate on the controversial June 4 comic strip, the Inquirer is pulling out Pugad Baboy by P.M.Jr— Inquirer Group (@inquirerdotnet) June 5, 2013
The Pugad Baboy comic strip will not appear in Comic Relief section starting Friday, June 7.— Inquirer Group (@inquirerdotnet) June 5, 2013
"I'm a true blue Kulasa, and not once did I hear the sisters or professors badmouth gays and lesbians. I'm proud that we were taught to always keep an open mind about things," Jenny Santiago said in a comment.
Meg Siasoco meanwhile said: "Una sa lahat, walang masama sa pagiging lesbian. Kaming mga Kulasa--all employees and superiors included--nirerespeto ang bawat tao ano man ang gender preference (First of all, there is nothing wrong about being a lesbian. We in St. Scholastica--all employees and superiors included--respect everyone regardless of gender preference)."
In its official Twitter account, St. Scholastica also posted a statement condemning the comic strip and hinting at a possible lawsuit.
The school has sent a letter to the Inquirer and has sought an audience with newspaper officials and Medina.
"We protest in strongest possible terms the way the school was singled out and out sister-administrations accused of allowing homosexual relationships between its female students," its letter read.
It added that it is ready to file a case against the Inquirer and Medina if they do not hear from the publication within the week.
Medina, for his part, said St. Scholastica's reaction to the strip, which was originally published in March, is questionable.
"If you zoom in on that particular strip that got me fired, you'll see that the strip first appeared in March. No reaction then," Medina said via Facebook.
"It was reissued after I made a series of anti-Marcos strips, then boom! nag-trending sa Twitter. Interesting. I smell a consPIGracy," he added.
Medina later on noted, however, that he received an email from the Inquirer saying that he did not get fired but has only been suspended.
"They're still deliberating... Let's wait for the official word. Salamat sa suporta (Thanks for the support)," he said via Facebook.
“Pugad Baboy” (pigpen) is famous for its hard-hitting and satirical take on Philippine politics and society. It was first published by the Inquirer in 1988.
READ ST. SCHO, MANILA'S STAND ON PDI's "PUGAD BABOY" STRIP DATED 04 JUNE 2013.RETWEET, SCHOLASTICANS! twitter.com/stschomla1906/…— St. Scho, Manila (@stschomla1906) June 5, 2013