A national organization of Filipino artists, writers, and cultural workers bemoaned the resignation of veteran cartoonist Apolonio “Pol” Medina from the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) over the controversy caused by the publication of his ‘Pugad Baboy’ comic strip last June 4 that mocks the alleged hypocrisy of Catholic schools in dealing with homosexuals.
In a statement released over the weekend, the Concerned Artist of the Philippines (CAP) said Medina’s decision to quit was “unfortunate,” adding that PDI’s move to suspend ‘Pugad Baboy’ indefinitely constitutes a threat to freedom of expression.
“This can set a dangerous precedent for other publications and media institutions under similar situations,” CAP spokesperson Renan Ortiz said. He pointed out that the newspaper seems to have set aside its long legacy of asserting the freedom of speech and expression.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News last Friday, Medina said he is apologizing to the Saint Scholastica’s College (SSC) for his offensive comic strip. On the same day, he made a resignation letter addressed to PDI Editor-in-Chief. “Sorry (that) I dishonoured you. I resign,” Medina said in the letter. PDI has carried ‘Pugad Baboy’ since 1988.
For his part, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera said the management of PDI should have spoken in favor of Medina instead of “panicking and disowning him.”
“Medina’s strip was directed in general at what he calls the hypocrisy of Catholic institutions that condemn homosexuality and discriminate against lesbians and gays,” Lumbera noted, explaining that although SSC was mentioned, it is not the strip’s only subject. Lumbera is the Chair of CAP’s Board of Directors.
A character from Medina’s comic strip quipped that administrators of all-girls schools, SSC in particular, are condoning homosexuals in their respective campuses, hinting that the nuns may be lesbians themselves. In response, the administration of SSC warned that they may take legal action against Medina and the PDI if they don’t hear from them.
- ‘Pugad Baboy’ creator says sorry for offensive comic strip (filipinoscribe.com)