Dennis Trillo and Piolo Pascual to Play the Philippines' First Serial Killer in Two Different Productions

IMAGE GMA Network, Netflix

It looks like the story of the Philippines’ first documented serial killer is so riveting that two productions will be made about him at the same time. Actors Dennis Trillo and Piolo Pascual will be playing Father Juan Severino Mallari, the country’s first-ever serial killer, in two separate projects.

Trillo’s project will adapt Mallari’s story into a series, while Pascual’s project will be a film.

Must read: Victim or Villain? The Untold Story of the Priest Who Became the First Filipino Serial Killer

GMA actor Dennis Trillo will star as Mallari in the series Severino by CreaZion Studios, which was also behind 1st ko si 3rd, Iska, and Patay Na Si Hesus. The project was announced at the Cannes Film Festival. Severino is currently “in development,” according to the production company, which plans to distribute the series internationally.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN star Piolo Pascual will star as Father Juan Severino Mallari in a feature film titled Mallari. The film will be written by Joaquin Enrico Santos, directed by Derick Carbido, and produced by John Bryan Diamante. Mallari will be produced by Mentorque Productions and Cleverminds Inc. Mallari will reportedly take place across three timelines: Spanish Colonization, Post-WWII, and the present.


As both projects have been recently announced, the two will likely be released around the same time. But we’re not counting on competition. When it comes to Father Juan Severino Mallari, the more adaptations, the better.

A Filipino priest at the height of Spanish rule, Mallari murdered over 50 people in the colonial-era town of Magalang, Pampanga in the early 1800s. He reportedly suffered from mental illness, which historians believe drove him to kill his victims because of the misguided belief that his sacrifices would save his ailing mother. It wasn’t until decades after the murders that his crimes were uncovered. He was subsequently arrested and imprisoned for 14 years before he was executed in 1840.

Mallari’s story is concealed in mystery and conjecture, with much being left to interpretation. How Dennis Trillo and Piolo Pascual bring the murderer to life will be interesting to witness, as well as how their portrayals will differ. Perhaps the variety will finally give us a more insightful look at the Philippines’ first—and perhaps most complicated—serial killer.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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