Dinky Soliman: ‘Walang ninakaw. Nakatira pa rin sa maliit na bahay’

‘Her passing ends a chapter in Civil Society now gone’

Early on in the PNoy administration, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman with Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo (far left) (Photo from VP Leni Robredo Facebook)

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman (far left), Rep. Leni Robredo, President Aquino during Aquino administration (Photo from VP Leni Robredo FB)

The country is mourning the death of former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano Soliman last September 19, and sadly, it is only in death that the country gets to hear of the virtues of this Filipino public servant and civil society leader.

During the Aquino administration, PNoy with his Cabinet members Dinky Soliman and Jesse Robredo (Photo from VP Leni Robredo Facebook)

This Cabinet member of the PNoy administration lived a quiet, simple life. “Walang pagod. Walang ninakaw. Nakatira pa rin sa maliit na bahay sa UP. (Did not tire working. Did not steal. Lived in a small house at UP village),” posted broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez-Roxas in Facebook.

“She has had diabetes for many many years and many complications this year…. Had been in ICU for about 5 days already. We lost a really good public servant who did so much good for the poor and underprivileged and just like many in PNoy’s Cabinet did not steal money…. No expensive European cars, just a simple home at UP village. Proud to have worked with her on so many projects for the underprivileged”—the comment of former Cabinet secretary Rene Almendras which was posted by Louie Heredia in Facebook.

Columnist Manolo Quezon wrote an obituary on his FB page: “Her passing ends a chapter in Civil Society now gone: where the crossover from working in parallel to, to working not just with but in, government was tried.”

Soliman belonged to a group of civil society leaders who called out corruption in government, and tried to make a difference in the country even given her modest circumstances—her unselfish commitment is becoming a rarity in a time of untrammeled greed.

Soliman and Robredo during an official function: Two friends through times of personal tragedy and government service (Photo from VP Leni Robredo FB)

It was Vice President Leni Robredo in her FB post that gave a personal glimpse into Dinky’s life, since Dinky was a good friend of her late husband, Jesse Robredo, who served in the Aquino Cabinet with Dinky.

She wrote, “Sec Dinky was Jesse’s friend first before she became ours (my girls’ and mine). They were together in PNoy’s Cabinet, shared many advocacies, and were together responding to one calamity after another. Sec Dinky was one of Jesse’s most admired public officials. Matino at mahusay, he would always say….

“It was not until the plane crash that we got to know her really well. The story was, when PNoy first learned of the crash, he wanted a member of his official family to be with us. But no one knew me personally because I have never joined Jesse in any of the Malacanang activities. Sec Dinky was then in Batangas for the long weekend, spending precious time with the family, because of her husband, Hector, who was then working in Bangladesh, was home for a quick break. Despite this, and without even knowing us, she volunteered. She was on the next available plane to Naga and kept us company during the entire search operations.

“Sec Dinky made sure that I ate and slept during those harrowing days. While I slept on our bed, she would be on the couch just beside me, making sure she was there when I woke up. PNoy, Sec Mar (Roxas), Sec Volts (Gazmin), Sen. Leila (de Lima) would call her to update her on everything that’s happening, and she would be the one to relay information to us. She was our lifesaver, in every sense of the word.

“She was the first person outside the family who knew of my decision to run for Congress, then the Vice Presidency.

“Sec Dinky was pure of heart, humble and compassionate….”

Read more:

‘Iba si Sir’—PNoy staff gives the real score

How PNoy pushed and inspired his young staff

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