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National

PDI suspends 'Pugad Baboy' over lesbians-in-a-Catholic-school strip

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

(UPDATE 3: 02:46 p.m.) The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) has suspended its hugely popular "Pugad Baboy" comic strip, after it reportedly offended an exclusive Catholic girls school with a joke about lesbian students, and perhaps lesbian nuns.

After some initial confusion, Pugad Baboy creator Pol Medina, Jr., said that as of Thursday noon, his comic strip appears to have been suspended. He recanted an earlier post on Facebook in which he acknowledged getting "fired". Medina said that statement may have either been outright mistaken, or at the very least premature.

What remains clear, however, is that Medina has been disciplined by PDI over a comic strip that touches on the subject of lesbianism in a Catholic girls' school in Manila.

The Inquirer says "Pugad Baboy" will not appear in its pages pending an internal investigation by its readers' advocate. The newspaper reportedly received a complaint from St. Scholastica's College in Manila, which was the subject of the comic strip in question. The letter complaint, a digital grab of which was posted over Twitter, threatens the newspaper with a lawsuit should it fail to satisfactorily address the school's protest.

Past 1 p.m., Medina posted the following comic strip on his Facebook wall along with this note: "since indefinite pa 'yung suspension ko e dito ko muna ilalabas 'yung strip na dapat lumabas ngayon. grabe, kaya ko nang magbabad sa Facebook. ganito pala ka-unproductive ang walang deadline."

PDI's rival newspaper Philippine Star had reported that Medina was booted out allegedly because of his comic strip that appeared on June 4. In it, one of his cartoon's characters makes a joke about lesbian students - and perhaps lesbian nuns - at St. Scholastica's College, an exclusive Catholic girls' school in Manila.

Medina first acknowledged the report. But his last post, as of noon on Thursday: "Holy pwet! Just got an email from PDI - they're still deliberating!" Medina said his earlier posts matter-of-factly discussing his "firing" may have been mistaken - or at least premature. "Mali 'yung post ko na fired na ako. Nakukuryente rin pala ako sa pagbabalita. (My post stating that I was fired was wrong. I may have been taken in by false news.) Let's wait for the official word. Salamat sa suporta."

"On Tuesday's issue of Pugad Baboy, created by cartoonist Apolonio 'Pol' Medina, Jr., two women were talking about the supposed hypocrisy of Christians for condemning gays and lesbians, and condoning homosexuality among female students in exclusive schools at the same time," the Star said.

Medina himself acknowledged in a Facebook post that he had been "fired". In a subsequent post on Thursday, the cartoonist said: "What? Wait... hindi pa pala ako fired. Suspended lang hanggang magkaroon ng consensus na sipain ako. Pero...doon din siguro ang punta no'n. Sigh."

His first post read:

"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..." Medina said in his Facebook page.

Fans and concerned netizens on Thursday were quick to launch an online petition urging the Philippine Daily Inquirer to keep Medina and "Pugad Baboy" - and threatening the paper with a boycott should the cartoonist be given the boot.

A petition titled, "Philippine Daily Inquirer: Do not fire Pol Medina, do not remove Pugad Baboy" is currently active on Change.org.

One of Medina's supporters, Roskie Quiquiam of Quezon City, wrote:

"Because Pugad Baboy makes PDI relevant. If there's no Pugad Baboy, I won't buy PDI, then I would have to buy the Star for news, but there aren't any good comics there. Not yet anyway."

Rod Zantua of Legazpi City said:

"Pugad Baboy is one of the most established comics in Philippine History. It would be sad that it would be removed over this comic strip, when if fact there have been more serious issues that were joked upon."

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