Inquirer suspends Pugad Baboy over gay comic strip
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Daily Inquirer is suspending publication of Pugad Baboy from its Comics section over a strip criticizing the supposed hypocrisy of Christians on the issue of homosexuality.
The comic strip in question by cartoonist Apolonio "Pol" Medina Jr appeared on inquirer.net on Monday, June 3. It depicted two characters talking about how hypocritical it is for Christians to denounce homosexuality when gays and lesbians are tolerated in Catholic all-girls schools.
It went on to name a particular school in the last panel of the strip, drawing public ire. It read:
"O' nga no? Sa St Scho e wala kang makikitang magandang kulasa na walang girlfriend." (That's right, eh? In St Scho, you won't find a pretty St Scholastican without a girlfriend.)
"Di kaya tongril din yung mga madre?" (Maybe the nuns are also lesbians?)
First published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 1988, Pugad Baboy (pigpen) is known for its satire on Philippine society and politics, using pig-like characters.
It will be removed from the Inquirer's roster of daily comics pending investigation.
The controversial June 4 Pugad Baboy comic strip was removed from the comics section of inquirer.net on June 5 (10pm).— Inquirer Group (@inquirerdotnet) June 5, 2013
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
St Scho threatens lawsuit
In a statement posted on its official Twitter account on Wednesday, the management of St Scholastica's College said it sent a letter to the Inquirer on the day the comic strip was published to protest "in the strongest possible terms the way the school was singled out" and how their Sister-administrators were "accused of allowing homosexual relationships between its female students."
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
The school said they are seeking an audience with the person in charge of the Comics section and Medina himself.
Their statement read: "If we will not hear from PDI this week, the lawsuit will be filed. If the dialogue will be arranged, we will be inviting administrators, faculty and students who care about this issue to join us. The entire Sisters community will be present."
Pol Medina Jr reacts: 'Cons-pig-racy?'
For the author, however, Inquirer's decision to temporarily suspend his comic strip may not only concern the particular strip.
In reaction to the news, Medina wrote on Facebook:
"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. it was reissued after i made a series of anti-marcos strips, then BOOM! nag-trending sa twitter. interesting. i smell a consPIGracy…."
As of 10:30 am Thursday, the comic strip was still accessible here.
Medina's signature at the bottom of the second panel shows a date marked as "PMJR0313"
A day before the controversial comic strip was published, Inquirer published a Pugad Baboy strip criticizing those who are praising former president Ferdinand Marcos for supposedly being the best president of the Philippines. Other Pugad Baboy strips can be viewed here.
In a subsequent Facebook post, Medina also revealed that the Pugad Baboy strip that appeared Thursday, June 6, was supposed to have been published earlier on June 4.
"Akala ko na-reject dahil bumunot sila sa archives ng ipapalit na strip at 'yon pang St. Scho na strip na lumabas noon pang March and ipinalit,"Medina said in his Facebook account. (I thought it was rejected because they used a strip from the archives and it had to be the St Scho strip that appeared way back in March that was chosen as replacement.)
But fans of Pugad Baboy need not protest just yet. Medina has clarified he has not been fired, just suspended, until a consensus is reached on the matter.
- with reports from Ira Agting/Rappler.com