Examiner: After 30 years, bishop’s remains have ‘no foul smell’

Examiner: After 30 years, bishop’s remains have ‘no foul smell’

PAO Chief Atty. Persida V. Rueda-Acosta and Laboratory Director Erwin Erfe and their team performed the exhumation and examination of the late bishop’s remains, which to their surprise had no foul smell. MELO ACUÑA

VALLADOLID, CARCAR CITY, CEBU – With the exhumation of the late Bishop Teofilo B. Camomot’s remains, as part of the process for possible declaration of sainthood, forensic experts discover that after three decades the body did not exude the bad odor that usually accompanies human corpses after years of decay.

“Of the 140 remains we have examined from the Princess of the Stars and murder and homicide cases, I consider this miraculous because Bishop Camomot’s remains has no foul smell despite the fact he died for almost 30 years,” said Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta.

The Public Attorneys Office, led by Acosta and its Forensic Laboratory Director Atty. Erwin Erfe, conducted the exhumation and examination of the deceased prelate’s remains, which consisted mostly of bones.

Erfe also confirmed Acosta’s observation.

Virtuous life

Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, who sought the Public Attorneys Office’s assistance for the exhumation and examination, said the exhumation of the remains of Camomot, who died in 1988, is part of the process.

In an interview at the Daughters of St. Teresa convent, Palma said the exhumation was witnessed by the consultors of the Archdiocese of Cebu, the members of the committee for the beatification, the council of the Daughers of St. Teresa and the members of Camomot’s family.

“The bishops led by the CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles witnessed the process,” said the prelate. He said the exhumation and examination will prove the “veracity of Bishop Camomot’s existence.”

Meanwhile Valles went on to extoll the deceased bishop, who was known for having led a virtuous life.

“We believe that we have in the person of Bishop Camomot a witness of God’s life in his life and person as he was able to do admirable works of charity, mercy and shepherding of souls in his life, specially the poor and suffering,” said the prelate.

He said the faithful should not only admire but imitate Camomot’s life.

More Filipino saints?

With three former Filipino bishops (Bishops Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, Alfredo Ma. Obviar of Lucena, and Cebu Bishop Teofilo Camomot) up for canonization, Valles said there were and there are bishops who practice what they preach. “Their lives are very inspiring,” he further said.

Bishop Camomot was born in Cogon, Carcar on March 3, 1914. He dedicated himself to his seminary formation at the Seminario de San Carlos in Cebu City. After his ordination to the priesthood on December 15, 1940, he was assigned to different parishes.

According to records, Camomot lived a simple and austere life. Before celebrating Mass, he would often visit his sick parishioners while attending to their needs.

He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Iloilo on March 26, 1955.

It was in 1959 when he was appointed Co-adjutor Bishop of Cagayan de Oro and founded the Carmelite Tertiaries of the Blessed Eucharist, now known as the Daughters of Saint Teresa.

Needed miracles

In 1968, he resigned as Coadjutor Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro and went home to Cebu, becoming Auxiliary of then Julio Cardinal Rosales. He was later named parish priest of Carcar, Cebu while serving the archdiocese in other capacities.

He died on Sept. 27, 1988 in a car crash on his way back to his parish in San Fernando, Cebu.

Palma said Camomot’s remains will be interred in a museum at the Daughters of St. Teresa compound.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints will declare him “Venerable” after the submission of the positio.

He may soon be declared “Blessed” after a miracle has been attributed to his intercession. Another miracle will be required for his canonization. CBCPNews