MANILA - Former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman was a "hero" who believed in Filipinos, her friend and colleague, former presidential peace adviser Teresita "Ging" Deles said Monday.
Soliman died Sunday at age 68 due to renal complications and heart failure.
"Bayani siya (She was a hero) and was never afraid of speaking truth to power but also in using that power always with grace, always gently, always positively to uplift the lives of those who are deprived. I hope people will remember, maalala natin si Dinky doon sa pagkatao niyang yun (her in that persona)," Deles told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"Siya talaga yung naniniwala sa mga Pilipino, sa mga gagawing choices ng Pinoy, naniniwala na meron tayong kinabukasan na dapat tinutulak. She maintained that positive spirit up to the last time we could be with her."
(She was the one who really believed in the Filipino people, in their choices, she believed we have future worth fighting for.)
Deles said she last spoke to Soliman in-person during the funeral mass of former President Benigno Aquino III.
"Ang aming usapan...as soon as matapos ang second dose magkikita kami," she said.
(We said we would meet up as soon as she finishes her second dose.)
"Nagsunod-sunod ang health crises niya but we were very hopeful na madadaanan niya."
(She faced health crises one after another but we were very hopeful she would pull through.)
Soliman had wanted to be "very involved in the next elections," Deles said.
"Baka maayos natin ang hindi inaasahang mangyari," she said.
(Maybe we can fix what we don't want to happen.)
"She continued to be active in humanitarian work even in lockdown. I hope people will remember her as an example of yung totoong (a true) public servant who looked at public service as a sacred trust."
Other members of the Benigno Aquino III administration mourned Soliman's passing.
"In any calamity, she was there. She ensured the poorest were not left behind thru the CCT (conditional cash transfer) program," former Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda earlier said.
"She was the smallest member of our Cabinet but the biggest heart among us."