In 1812, when the parish of Magalang was still on secular control, a young but ambitious secular priest was installed. Fr. Juan Severino Mallari took helm until he was relieved in 1826. His brief biography was initially written by the psychiatrist turned historian, Dr. Luciano P.R. Santiago. According to his findings, Fr. Mallari was born in Macabebe, Pampanga. He took his solemn profession at the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas. He was ordained in 1809, and he was appointed as coadjutor (assistant parish priest) of Gapan, Lubao and Bacolor. He later competed for the position of parish priest in parishes of Orani, Mariveles, Lubao and as chaplain of Port of Cavite. After his several attempts, he was successfully included to the terna, but, he was never chose by the higher authorities to those positions. Later, he finally attained his status as full pledge parish in the sleepy and large town of Magalang. The town itself was still in the second town proper located in San Bartolome (later, it will be known as Balen Melacuan). During his tenure in Magalang, Fr. Mallari sought some relief from the stresses of his priestly life. However, a series of unexplained murders surfaced in Magalang in different occasions. A total of 57 residents of Magalang killed over a period of ten years; without perpetrator being arrested or even identified. No wonder, it was Fr. Mallari was the perpetrator. In 1826, he was arrested and imprisoned like a common criminal. Even the Spanish chronicler Sinibaldo de Mas wrote that "the attorney on that case talked in pathetic terms of the indescribable and barbarous prodigality of blood shed by that monster". According to some accounts, Fr. Mallari claimed that he had murdered his parishioners "because he believed that he could by this means save his mother who, he persuaded himself, had been bewitched. After the verdict was served, in 1840, he was executed by hanging, earned him as the first Filipino priest executed by the Spanish colonial government. The execution of the triumvirate, Gomburza took place later in 1872. The case of Fr. Mallari is an example of the Indios' "natural tendency to believe all the ghost stories they were so found of telling". Dr. Santiago added that Fr. Mallari was a "victim of injustice" because Spain was already pioneered the humane treatment of mental patients, having founded the one of the first psychiatric institutions in Europe. In the Philippines, Hospicio de San Jose was already operating for 15 years, so probably the priest should have been taken there instead of the prison. Despite his tragic life, Fr. Mallari had exemplary skills, thus he earned also as the second Filipino priest who is a calligraphic artist. A contemporary of another Filipino calligraphic artist, Fr. Anselmo Fajardo; his surviving works (1816 and 1821) were done in the same period of his another older contemporary, Fr. Hipolito. In contrast to the latter, he limned vines of flowers and boy angels with short haircut, perched on whorls of clouds, which are charming examples of folk art.
Nemesis of Neglect, an image of social destitution manifested as Jack the Ripper. Punch cartoon of 1888 by John Tenniel. www.wikipedia.com
Santiago, Luciano P.R., The Kapampangan Pioneers, Angeles City, Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, 2002.
Tantingco, Robby P., The Serial Killer Priest of Magalang, Singsing Vol. 7. No. 1., Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City, 2017.