THE VATICAN, Italy (The Adobo Chronicles) – As she wiped her tears, Philippines Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman finally admitted on Tuesday that she had homeless people rounded up to put Manila in order for the visit of Pope Francis last month.
Soliman testified at a hearing of the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development that was called to investigate persistent reports that she rounded up homeless people and street children, sending them on a paid vacation for the duration of the papal visit. She explained that the 100 families, or 427 individuals, living along Roxas Boulevard that traverses the cities of Manila, Pasay and Paranaque were brought to Chateau Royale resort in Batangas, south of the capital. It cost the government 4.75 Million Pesos.
Upon learning of the admission, Pope Francis immediately signed a pastoral document excommunicating Soliman from the Catholic Church. As per tradition, excommunication bars a Catholic individual from receiving or participating in church sacraments, including, but not limited to, receiving Holy Communion or a church burial.
“I visited the Philippines to be with the poor, homeless, sick and down-trodden,” Francis said, “and it is unconscionable that they were hidden from me just so the government will look good.”
The Pope promised to return to Manila for a private visit later this year to be with the children and homeless who were rounded up and hidden by Soliman.