Late former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman took care of Vice President Leni Robredo and her children after her husband died.
Robredo recalled this in a lengthy tribute to Soliman following her passing last Sunday, September 19.
Reports said Soliman passed away at 7:32 a.m. on Sunday due to complications from renal and heart failure. She was 68 years old.
“We pray for the eternal repose of her soul. We will share details of the wake later, and ask that the family be given some time and privacy for grieving,” Hector, Dinky’s husband was quoted as saying.
Robredo also broke the same news through her weekly radio show on DZXL 558 kHz.
Dinky led the Department of Social Welfare and Development from her appointment under the Arroyo administration and then later, during the Aquino administration.
She was among the officials collectively known as the “Hyatt 10” who resigned after Arroyo was accused of fraud in 2004.
Dinky is also known for expanding the coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and her leadership in the massive rehabilitation efforts for victims of Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”
A close friend of the Robredo family
In her tribute on Facebook, the vice president remembered Soliman as a close friend of her late husband Jesse Robredo and also one of his most admired officials under the previous administration.
“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,” Robredo said.
“Matino at Mahusay, he would always say. He was always a good judge of character so she became ours, as well,” she added.
It was after the fateful plane crash in 2012 where Robredo got the chance to know Soliman.
She recalled that late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino initially wanted a member of his official family to be with them during the search operations.
Instead, Soliman volunteered even if she was supposed to be spending time with family in Batangas for that weekend.
“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 Malacañang activities,” Robredo said.
“Sec. Dinky was then in Batangas for the long weekend, spending precious time with the family, because 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,” she added.
Robredo also reminisced how Soliman took care of her and her children during those days of finding the missing plane.
The latter would also receive the updates and information regarding the search operations and then relayed them to her.
“She was our lifesaver, in every sense of the word,” Robredo said.
Robredo also further added that Soliman was the first person outside the family she informed about her bid for Congress and then for the vice presidency.
She then concluded her tribute with condolences sent to the rest of the Soliman family.
“Sec Dinky was pure of heart, humble and compassionate. The world has lost another good soul but heaven gained another angel. We love you and you will be terribly missed, Sec Dinky (sunflower emojis). Deepest condolences, Hector, and the entire family,” Robredo said.
Other personalities also expressed online their condolences and tributes to the former DSWD secretary.
These include posts from former speechwriter Manuel “Manolo” Quezon III and former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
From start (the admin’s vision, mission) Dinky Soliman helped think, plan, and implement, a way forward to lift millions out of poverty. Plans previously begun were further fleshed out and ramped up. pic.twitter.com/gWRwKDELfW
— Manuel L. Quezon III (@mlq3) September 19, 2021