by Atty. Jalilo Dela Torre

The diplomatic community, and Fili­pino communities in Hong Kong, Kenya, Australia and Paki­stan are mourning the loss of Ambassador Doming Lucenario, Jr., Doy to his friends. Amba Doy is best re­membered for steer­ing the e-Passport project through suc­cessful completion, and if we are now enjoying the freedom and convenience an electronic passport offers, we have him to thank. He holds the distinction of being the only recipient of the following Presi­dential awards: the Gawad Mabini with the rank of Grand Of­ficer and the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Officer both awarded in 2008 and the Order of Si­katuna with the rank of Datu in 2009.



Amba Doy was one of 6 fatalities in a hel­icopter crash in Naltar Valley in Gilgit-Bal­tistan, Pakistan on an inspection tour. The others were the Nor­wegian ambassador, the wives of the Indo­nesian and Malaysian ambassadors and the helicopter’s two pi­lots. The Taliban has claimed responsibil­ity, but this is still being investigated by the Pakistani authori­ties. Amba Doy was 54 and is survived by wife, Nida, and three children.



Before I said goodbye to Hong Kong in 2000, I met Consul Domingo “Doy” Lucenario, Jr., who was assuming his new post at the C o n s u l a t e - G e n e r a l . He impressed me as a soft-spoken, affable, amiable, decent, sim­ply but well-dressed diplomat, who argued and persuaded others not by the directness of approach, or novel­ty of style, but by the sheer force of logic.



When he counselled, you felt like you were talking to a big broth­er. Without my ask­ing for it, he had a few words of advice for me and what at that time was turning to be a new episode in my life. I liked him instantly. Over the years, as I moved from one overseas as­signment to another, and he went up the DFA ladder eventual­ly to become Ambas­sador, we’d chat with each other and send birthday greetings to each other on Face­book, or I’d send him somebody who needed help at the DFA.



He never refused help to anybody who needed it, whether it was some high-rank­ing official, or a busi­nessman harassed by an expired passport, or an ordinary OFW who didn’t have the foresight to have her passport renewed on time, because I think for him, anybody who walked into his office needing help was as good and as valuable as anybody else.



Sixteen years later, I’ve returned from Australia after a 3-year stint, and as I was monitoring the internet for news, the shocking breaking story of a helicop­ter full of diplomats crashing somewhere in Pakistan, shook my mid-afternoon dol­drums. His name was mentioned and that of a European diplomat as two of the fatali­ties. I thought, what an utter waste, what a tragedy.



Filipino netizens who knew him swiftly reacted with disbelief and grief. What was going on in this world, when even diplomats who worked only for peace and develop­ment were no longer safe? As I collected my own thoughts and emotions, I remember the words of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah, in the movie “The Red Tent”: “To mourn is to be re­spectful. To remem­ber is holy.” I remem­ber Amba Doy, as he was fondly called by friends, as a true friend, a compassion­ate human being, cou­rageous diplomat and an inimitable public servant.



It will be a long time before somebody like him comes along.


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