Philippine envoy’s body to arrive from Pakistan

Paterno Esmaquel II
Philippine envoy’s body to arrive from Pakistan
The late Ambassador Lucenario is credited for spearheading the Philippines' transition to machine-readable passports

MANILA, Philippines – Days after a helicopter crash killed him, the body of Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr will be brought home to Manila on Wednesday, May 13, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. 

In a media briefing Monday, May 11, DFA spokesman Charles Jose announced that Lucenario’s remains will arrive at 7 am on Wednesday at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

His body will be brought to the Philippines aboard a special C130 plane from Pakistan. The Pakistani minister of commerce will accompany Lucenario’s remains.

Lucenario’s remains will be brought to the Heritage Park in Taguig City on Thursday, May 14, Jose added.

On Friday, May 15, a memorial service for Lucenario will be held at the DFA from 10 am to 2 pm. 

Jose added that the Philippines is “still awaiting the official report of the Pakistani government” on the crash that killed Lucenario.

Lucenario died after a Pakistani military helicopter crashed into a school in the Pakistan’s north on Friday, May 8. The crash killed 6 people, including Lucenario and Norwegian Ambassador Leif Larsen. 

The Taliban has reportedly said it is responsible for the helicopter crash.

‘Very jolly person’ 

In an interview with reporters after his media briefing, Jose said he last met Lucenario in Manila around two weeks ago. He said the two of them talked in the DFA office in Pasay City. 

Jose described the news of Lucenario’s death as “shocking.” “It reminds us of how fleeting life can be,” he said.

Asked to describe Lucenario, Jose said: “He’s a very jolly person. He has a lot of friends in the department because of his personality.”

In a statement Friday, the DFA described Lucenario, 54, as a diplomat who has served the Philippines for more than 25 years. 

A lawyer, he “was also the Philippines’ non-resident ambassador to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan,” the DFA said. He was also the Philippines’ former ambassador to Kenya. 

Lucenario is credited for spearheading the Philippines’ transition to machine-readable or e-passports. 

Both President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay have condoled with Lucenario’s family – his wife Nida Arada Lucenario and his 3 children. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.