Zamboanga City: A decorated Army commander, who was a combat veteran in Mindanao, died on Sunday following a heart attack while diving off the coast of Zamboanga del Sur province, his spokesperson said.
Captain Jefferson Somera, a spokesperson for the First Infantry Division, said that Brig.Gen. Daniel Lucero was diving with his staff and wife at a beach in Tukuran town when he had a heart attack.
“It was a sad day us all. We lost a good man, a good officer, a good friend,” Somera said.
But Lucero’s wife said his husband drowned after a malfunction in the diving suit. “He is gone. There was a malfunction in his diving suit,” she said in a separate interview.
Somera said that Lucero, who belonged to the Philippine Military Academy Class 1983, was rushed to Mendero Hospital in Pagadian City, but died along the way.
Lucero was the first in his class to assume the post of Army division commander. He was first assigned as a platoon leader in Basilan and Sulu and fought insurgents, until his assignments brought him to Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. He was subsequently assigned to Aurora province in Luzon as infantry brigade officer.
He served as the commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade in Lanao del Sur and replaced Major General Ricardo Rainier Cruz in April this year.
A holder of a masters degree in international studies from the University of the Philippines and a masters degree in international relations in Australia, Lucero also served as the first commander of the Philippine contingent to the United Nations mission on the Caribbean island from 2004 to 2005.
Lucero, who started his career in Mindanao, was awarded three Distinguished Service Star Medals, a Gold Cross Medal, an Outstanding Achievement Medal and the Honor Graduate Medal and a number of Military Merit Medals. He was also one of the Metrobank Foundation’s awardees as outstanding soldier of the Philippines.
He is survived by his wife, Maria Consuelo, and daughter Paula Divina.