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


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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. (30)

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