One of the Philippines' most influential newspapers said Thursday it had suspended a popular comic strip for a homosexual joke that angered some conservatives in the mainly Catholic country.
The Pugad Baboy (Nest of Pigs) comic strip in the Philippine Daily Inquirer also triggered heated social media debate after suggesting that nuns and students at Manila's all girls' St Scholastica College were lesbians.
"The comic strip will not appear in our pages pending results of an investigation," Inquirer internal ombudsman Elena Pernia told AFP.
"It wasn't just the complaint of the school but there were also several negative comments about it that appeared on social media."
The Philippines is Asia's bedrock of Catholicism, with more than 80 percent of its population subscribing to the religion. While homosexuality is largely tolerated in the democratic country, the church remains a powerful force.
The Pugad Baboy comic strip has been running in the Inquirer, which is normally regarded as a liberal newspaper, since 1988.
The cartoon offers stinging commentaries on life in the Philippines seen through the eyes of a community composed of obese characters.
In the controversial issue published on Tuesday, characters criticised the hypocrisy of homophobic Christians, while suggesting that all the "beautiful" students and some nuns at St. Scholastica were lesbians.
Founded in 1906, St Scholastica's College is one of the country's most prestigious schools for girls.
The school's president, Sister Mary Thomas Prado, sent a letter of protest to the Inquirer threatening to sue it unless an inquiry was launched.
Pernia said the inquiry would look into the editorial processes that allowed the controversial comic strip to appear in the paper, and a decision on the cartoon would be made soon after.
But Pernia indicated the paper was acting to placate those angered, rather than because it believed the cartoon was wrong.
"I am not very comfortable saying that certain ethical lines were crossed, but one thing that is certain is that certain groups were offended," she said.