See the First Catholic Priest Serial killer who Murdered 57 people in 1810

Do you know that Fr. Juan Severino Mallari was a Filipino Catholic Priest and first catholic priest serial killer from the Philippines. During the Spanish colonial era, Mallari served as a Parish Priest in Magalang, Pampanga.

See the First Catholic Priest Serial killer who Murdered 57 people in 1810

Between the years of 1816-1826, a string of murders of 57 people occurred in scattered parts of the town of Magalang in Pampanga province. It was during a time when the Spanish colonial government reigned in the Philippines and both Spaniards and natives alike were horrified and on the hunt for the responsible party.

The nature of the crimes was relatively unheard of, and the information regarding these incidents is very limited.

It all began with a string of strange murders in Pampanga in 1810. One by one, the bodies surfaced in the town of colonial-era Magalang. Spaniards and Filipinos alike were swept up in wave of wave of curiosity along with brow-raising worry and hair-raising fear. On one knew why this was happening. Such is the material of mysteries and thrillers of modern-day society, but this was unheard of for the residents of the area at the time.

After all, nothing similar had ever been recorded. As the colonial police force scramble to figure out who was behind this act that appeared to be the very picture of evil itself, more and more citizens fell victims to the mysterious killer who brought terror without burden of a face or a name attached to the gruesome actions.

Who indeed is Father Mallari?

Fr. Juan Severino Mallari was born in Macabebe, Pampanga, studied theology at the University of Santo Tomas, and became an ordained priest in 1809. He went from town to town in the province as an assistant priest, and decided to apply as a full-fledged parish pastor. He was rejected four times, but despite these failures, he did not give up.

However, it all paid off when Magalang welcomed him with open arms as the first Filipino to preside over the parish. His flock admired him as one of their own, without fear inspired by the Spanish friars. Fr. Mallari was describe as a gifted person who was the second Filipino to master the art of Calligraphy, which he used to decorate the parish’s annual reports.

In a span of about a decade, around 50 strange deaths occurred in scattered parts of the area and the guwardya sibil were stumped, unable to find a clear motive or connection between the gruesome murders.

With no clues or suspects found, there was no other choice but to determine the case as unsolved, at least for the meantime, even though the ghastly fear of an unknown killer roaming the streets of Magalang would loom over everyone’s heads. But given that these murders would lead to the first documented Filipino serial killer, it would have been unusual for the unsuspecting townsfolk to pinpoint all of them to just one person – let alone a Filipino priest.

How was Fr. Juan Severino Mallari caught?

The lack of clues or suspects in the killings rendered the cases unsolved until Fr. Fr. Juan Severino Mallari contracted an unknown illness sometimes in 1826. He needed attendants who would look after him, and by accident they found the bloody personal belongings of his alleged victims in his place of residence.

The discovery was a shock to many since a talented artist and a man of God was the last person anyone would think capable of such horrific crimes. Talks about his mental instability began to surface, but he was taken to Manila for imprisonment instead of receiving treatment for his worsening metal condition.

The attorney on that case talked in pathetic terms of the indescribable and barbarous prodigality of bloodshed by that monster.

Fr. Juan Severino Mallari Trail and Execution

According to accounts, Fr. Juan Severino Mallari stated that his motivations were driven by his pursuit of curing his ailing mother, whom he believed was bewitched by a mangkukulam – “the Tagalog word for witch”. In his mind, killing his parishioners led him to one step closer to his mother’s recovery.

However, theirs is no evidence that “killing people to save a person’s soul” was a practice in the form of witchcraft Mallari would have been familiar with, and there were no records of what illness his mother was suffering from. Thus, it’s reasonable to think that many of Mallari’s belief and actions were caused by delusional thinking, due to a mental break.

His trail caused much frenzy in the Filipino population and the Spaniards used this to further reinforce their biased belief that the native indigenous population (called Indios by the Spanish) had a natural tenmdency to believe in supernatural tall tales.

In 1840, after languishing in jail for 14 years, Fr. Juan Severino Mallari was hanged for his crimes as the first (and perhaps the only) documented serial killer in Philippines.

Thus, he was also the first Filipino priest executed by the Spanish colonial government, predating the more famous GomBurza by 32 years (the combined last names of the three priests who were falsely accused of treason and sedition, and executed by garrote).

Was there injustice in the case?

Many thought Fr. Juan Severino Mallari was suffering from a severe psychosis and should have been admitted to a mental institution than being sent to the prison immediately.

For a servant of the Church convicted of killing so many people, it is surprising that there is not one photo of Fr. Juan Severino Mallari available in history archives. Could this be the work of the Catholic Church trying to suppress a scandal in the 1800s?

The names of his supposed victims and the manner of their deaths are also lacking, which is odd because Spaniards documented everything since they first came to the archipelago.

Due to the systemic racism experienced by the native Filipinos under the hands of the colonizers, we can rightfully assume that since the victims were mostly natives, the colonial power did not find it necessary to write them down.


After Fr. Juan Severino Mallari, no known serial killer were operating throughout Philippine history. There have been several individuals responsible for mass murders, but those crimes were usually rampages committed by a single person running amok within a single day or scenario, such as the Manila hostage crisis that happened on August 23, 2010, and the Resorts World Manila attack in 2017.



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