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

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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 there—either as a prime mover or active participant—in 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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