Press Release
September 24, 2021

De Lima pays final respect to Sec. Dinky, barred from giving eulogy

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima attended the online memorial service for former Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman last night, Sept. 23, after the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 256 partially granted her "e-furlough" to pay her last respects to the late secretary.

While the Muntinlupa court allowed De Lima to attend via Zoom the online memorial service, she was barred from giving a eulogy, comment, media interview, and any form of communication at any time during the furlough.

De Lima's former colleagues in the PNoy Cabinet at one point asked her to sing several songs but since her mic was muted by the PNP Custodial Center personnel, she just waved her hands to the tune of "Betcha by Golly Wow" by the Stylistics and "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor being sung by her colleagues.

Former Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, who served as the moderator during the event, acknowledged De Lima's presence, saying that the lady Senator from Bicol would have been the first to give a message for Soliman had she been allowed by the Court.

"Hi Leila. Mukhang 'di ka pwedeng magsalita, but she is here," said Lacierda, sharing that De Lima is using the Zoom account handled by a PNP Custodial Center official in Camp Crame where she is unjustly detained.

Attendees, including Soliman's husband, Atty. Hector Soliman, sent their regards and love to De Lima who was clad in a black and white dress with her signature scarf, and wearing face mask and face shield conformably with existing strict custodial safety protocols.

"Mahal ka ni Dinky," Hector Soliman told De Lima.

"Dinky had a very special place in her heart for you. Alam mo yan. And we always like to visit you. Sana lumaya ka na. We'll always pray for you... Meron kang kakampi. Ipagdasal po natin ang isa't isa upang tayo ay ganap na lumaya sa ating sitwasyon," Atty. Soliman added.

Other attendees for their part, sent their messages for De Lima via Zoom chatbox such as "We are praying for you, Sen. Leila" and "Laban Leila."

"Much as Senator Leila would want to deliver her own eulogy or message for Sec. Dinky, unfortunately, our request to allow her to do so was denied by the court," said Atty. Dino De Leon, one of the Senator's legal counsels and Spokesperson, who was also present during the gathering.

"Sen. Leila extends her deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Sec. Dinky. She also extends her warm regards to her colleagues in the PNoy Cabinet," he added.

De Lima filed a "Very Urgent Motion for E-Furlough" last Sept. 22 asking the Muntinlupa RTC, Branch 256 to allow her to attend the online memorial service for Soliman, who passed away last Sept. 19, and to personally give her eulogy.

"To properly pay her respect and tribute to former Secretary Soliman who selflessly served the Filipino people, particularly the poor and marginalized, and to give her personal condolences to the bereaved family, albeit virtually, in consideration of the close professional and personal relationship formed between them, Accused De Lima seeks for the Honorable Court to grant this e-furlough," the motion read.

In his Order, Presiding Judge Romeo Buenaventura of the Muntinlupa RTC 256 prohibited De Lima from giving her eulogy during the online memorial service saying that there is a "great likelihood that whatever the accused may say during the online memorial service will pique the interest of the media and the public in general given her public stature."

Many personalities and netizens immediately expressed their disappointment in the said decision, such as former Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III who twitted, "She [Senator Leila] wanted permission from the court to virtually attend Dinky's wake to give a eulogy. Court apparently decided for humanity's sake she could attend via Zoom; but it would be impolitic to let her speak because of danger it might have a public impact. Put her on your 2022 list."

Attended by Soliman's family, friends, and former colleagues, the online service called "Sunflower Celebrations for Dinky" was marked by a Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Bobby Yap, which was followed by tributes for Sec. Dinky.

Recently, the Senate unanimously adopted Senate Resolution No. 913 honoring Soliman for her invaluable contributions to the field of social work as a distinguished public servant exemplified by her lifelong crusade to uplift the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of society.

It was filed by De Lima, along with Minority Senator Franklin M. Drilon, Risa Hontiveros and Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.


Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Undelivered Tribute/ Message for Sec. Dinky Soliman
(23 September 2021)

To Sec. Dinky's family and loved ones: To Hec, Dino and Marikit, my deepest condolences; to my dear colleagues in the PNoy Cabinet, friends, good evening!

This is such an incredible moment for me to be with all of you, albeit virtually; a rare moment to rekindle our special ties as one happy official family of our dear late President, thru a collective tribute to a most special colleague, Sec. Dinky.

Chair Karina. Sec. Mon J. PNoy. And now, Sec. Dinky. Palalim nang palalim ang balon ng lungkot na nararamdaman ko. Pero kahit nakailang iyak na, hindi maubos ang luha ko sa tuwing maaalala ko sila.

Alam nyo po, noong Linggo, during my usual prayer session at around 5:30 in the morning, bigla kong naisip si Sec. Dinky. I was asking, "Kumusta na kaya siya?" And I felt a strong longing to see her. I then prayed hard for her.

So I was shocked when, at past 9:00 a.m. of the same day, I got the sad, heartbreaking news. Pakiramdam ko, dumaan muna sa'kin dito sa quarters ko si Sec. Dinky before she breathed her last at around 7:32 a.m.

So typical of Sec. Dinky. Hindi makatiis na hindi magparamdam.

Sec. Dinky was always there for me.

She was there in my Senate office, filled with emotions, on the night before I turned myself in to the arresting authorities in February 2017.

Months before that, she, along with other women warriors who now comprise #EveryWoman, were up in arms against those shameless misogynists at the House who ganged up on me and besmirched my dignity.

She was there in one of the court hearings, na kasama pa nya sina Chair Karina and Sec. Ging, at kung saan ay tinarayan pa nila dun yung tumetestigo laban sa akin, na kakampi dapat o dating kakampi, pero sa hindi maintindihang dahilan, ay nagpagamit sa mga oppressors ko.

She was thereeither as a prime mover or active participantin all the milestone events organized in the past 4 years which highlight my status as a prisoner of conscience.

Her regular visits to me here at Camp Crame, usually together with Chair Karina and Sec. Ging, and other members of Tindig Pilipinas, were among my most precious moments. Those were sessions of fun, happy memories, konting tsismisan, sharing insights on burning issues, and yes, outpouring of frustrations and rage over the many unbelievable and appalling things we have been witnessing and struggling to live with since 2016.

Sec. Dinky unconditionally and wholeheartedly offered her assistance in our shared causes. She was there, giving guidance and valuable inputs to my staff when our office was crafting the 4Ps Institutionalization bill, which I was honored to champion, successfully, at the Senate. Siya ang tunay na Ina ng 4Ps, the driving force behind this landmark program and many other initiatives for the uplifting and the empowerment of the vulnerable and the marginalized.

She graciously accommodated my staff's request to guest in one of the episodes of "ACRONYM: Work from Prison," where for an hour, she comprehensively explained the beauty and benefits of 4Ps.

I was told that it was one of the most watched episodes of said online program.

Pambihira talaga ang tulad ni Sec. Dinky. Ibang kumalinga at sumuporta.

Kung gaano siya kasipag magtrabaho, ganoon din karami ang energy niya para magpasaya at mang-aliw sa mga kaibigan at katrabaho - yung mga kantahan at sayawan natin noon sa mga gatherings with PNoy. I certainly miss those moments with our dear PNoy.

So, tonight, I honor and thank Sec. Dinky with all my heart, and love.

With all of you here, I give my last respects to an indefatigable freedom fighter and champion of social justice and social development, a staunch ally and defender, an extraordinary woman and a great friend.

With a grieving heart, I bid goodbye to our Big and Little Sister in the Cabinet. Little in sheer physical size, yet big, nay, a giantess in her convictions, her zeal for life and selfless service, and her outstanding achievements.

Paalam, Sec. Dinky, at maraming maraming salamat.

(Note: The above were just some of the thoughts Sen. De Lima wanted to share in the Sept. 23 memorial service hosted by the PNoy Cabinet members. She intended to articulate more her feelings and tribute for Sec. Dinky, if only she was allowed to speak.)

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