MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday confirmed that Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario, Jr. died in a helicopter crash in Pakistan's Naltar Valley.
The DFA, however, did not give details about the incident.
The helicopter crash killing 6 people, including the ambassador of Norway and the wives of the ambassadors of Malaysia and Indonesia, the Pakistan Army said.
Army spokesman Asim Bajwa said technical malfunction caused the helicopter crash.
Pakistani Taliban militants said they had shot down the helicopter with a shoulder-launched missile adding they had been hoping to shoot down Sharif's aircraft.
"Nawaz Sharif and his allies are our prime targets," Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said in an emailed statement.
The militants do no operate in the Gilgit area and they often claim responsibility for incidents that they had nothing to do with.
Lucenario was a career ambassador who served the Philippine government for over 25 years, the DFA said in a statement.
He was also the Philippines' non-resident ambassador to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
A lawyer by profession, he served the Department in various capacities including assignments in Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, and as former Philippine Ambassador to Kenya with concurrent jurisdiction to 12 African nations.
He was the Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat). He also served as Deputy Chief of Presidential Protocol under the Ramos administration, aside from various positions in the DFA.
Lucenario was given three major Presidential Awards, namely: the Order of Sikatuna Award with the rank of Datu (Gold level) (2009), the Order of Lakandula Award with the rank of Grand Officer (Maringal na Pinuno) (2008), and the Gawad Mabini Award with the rank of Grand Officer (Dakilang Kamanong) (2008).
He is survived by his wife, Lawyer Nida Arada Lucenario and 3 children. Ambassador Lucenario was 54 years old. - with a report from Reuters