The Vizconde Massacre, the Hultman case, the Marikina killings, and the Ampatuan Mass Murder. These were just a few of the gruesome crime stories that hogged media headlines for months–even years–in recent memory. But there were cases just as shockingly chilling, perhaps even more so, as these sensational crimes from the 1960s decade.
Table of Contents
- 5. The Cabading Family Carnage (1961)
- 4. The Laurel-Silva Double Killing (1965)
- 3. Richard Speck and the Student Nurse Murders (1966)
- 2. The Crime Against Maggie’s Virtue (1967)
- 1. The Jigsaw Murder of Lucila Lalu (1967)
- Continue Reading: 10 Notorious Crimes of the 1960s That Shocked The Philippines (Part I)
5. The Cabading Family Carnage (1961)
A possessive, selfish father with a violent streak triggered the senseless deaths of family members—including the perpetrator himself–in this high-profile case that left a nation shocked in disbelief in 1961.
Police detective Pablo Cabading had always been a domineering figure in his Makati household that included his wife, Anunsacion, and only daughter Lydia Cabading, a 23-year-old medical doctor. When Lydia announced her plan to settle down with 34-year-old Dr. Leonardo Quitangon, her father gave his reluctant permission—on the condition that the couple would stay in the Cabadings’ Zapote home.
That arrangement turned out to be a hellish experience for the newlyweds. Pablo controlled their every activity, often insinuating himself in the couple’s private dates, imposing curfews, and ordering his daughter to sleep in his mother’s room. His anger knew no bounds when Leonardo and Lydia expressed their wish to live on their own.
To escape their father’s wrath, the two fled to Cavite. Pablo turned his wrath on his Quitangon in-laws, harassing them with a gun and a demand to return his daughter. Eventually, he succeeded in convincing Lydia and Leonardo to return to Zapote, after telling them that Anunsacion had fallen ill—when in fact, she was just feigning sickness.
On January 18, 1961, Pablo invited Leonardo’s brother, lawyer Nonilo Quitangon, to his house “to discuss something important.” Minutes later, Cabading left his guest to go upstairs. Shortly afterward, a series of shots rang out, causing Nonilo to flee.
When policemen arrived at the scene, they found Lydia on top of Leonardo’s body, shielding him uselessly from the fatal gunshots that also claimed her life. Sprawled on his daughter’s bed was Pablo, who had apparently turned his own .45 caliber pistol on himself after his crazed rampage. Anunsacion was found on the floor, writhing in pain, the lone survivor of this family tragedy.
4. The Laurel-Silva Double Killing (1965)
Whenever a prominent political name is involved in a crime, expect newspapers to blare out headlines of the most sensational kind. Such was the case with Jaime “Banjo” Laurel—the son of then Cong. Jose B. Laurel— who was implicated as a suspect in the murder of his estranged wife, the beautiful Erlinda Gallegos-Laurel, and customs agent Amando V. Silva, her lover, on August 16, 1965.
Initial findings indicated murder-suicide at the Laurel’s posh Paco apartment—Gallegos was shot 11 times by Silva, who then turned the gun on himself. Then, a murder angle was introduced, and a suspect, Feliciano Tinio Jr., was taken in for questioning.
New findings revealed a more chilling theory—parricide-murder. Thus, a case was filed against Linda’s husband, Banjo Laurel, already known for his ‘bad boy’ reputation, and 4 others. The trial was presided by Judge Jesus Morfe after the original judge, Juan Reyes, a Laurel relative, inhibited himself from the case.
Defending Banjo was his uncle (and future Philippine Vice President), Atty. Salvador Laurel. Atty. Laurel succeeded in ferreting out a crucial fact during his examination of the NBI witness: that the blood-stained bullet found on the ceiling of the crime scene was consistent with the trajectory found in the head of Silva. He also forced a witness to retract his confession who admitted to lying under torture.
Thus, Banjo was acquitted of the crime. He later joined politics (he became Tanauan mayor), a career cut short by his death in a helicopter crash in Camarines Sur on January 12, 1970.
3. Richard Speck and the Student Nurse Murders (1966)
Although this bone-chilling crime was committed in Chicago, its far-reaching impact was felt most profoundly in the Philippines, as the sole survivor—and witness of this killing spree—was a Filipina exchange student nurse, Corazon Amurao of Batangas.
Richard Benjamin Speck, a 25-year-old drifter and drunkard with many criminal records, had gone to Chicago to look for a job. Unsuccessful in his search, Speck spent his idle days drinking, before accosting and raping Ella Mae Hooper, whose gun he also took.
At about 11 p.m. on July 13, 1966, Speck slipped into a nurses’ apartment house and knocked on the bedroom door of Amurao. Armed with a gun, Speck herded eight student nurses in a room—including Filipinas Merlita Gargullo and Valentina Pasion—and tied them. Speck then took them out one by one and proceeded to rape and kill them by stabbing and strangulation.
Amurao escaped death by hiding under a bed. Seven hours later, after Speck had left, Amurao got out of the room through a window and screamed for help.
Two days after, Speck was recognized in a bar; he then attempted suicide after sensing that the police were hot on his trail. He was arrested when he was taken to a hospital. Speck’s jury trial on April 3, 1967, brought him face to face with Amurao, who positively identified the killer. He was found guilty on April 15 and sentenced on June 5 to die in the electric chair.
Although the Illinois Supreme Court upheld his sentence in 1968, this was overturned due to jury selection issues. Speck died in 1991 of a heart attack; he had spent 25 years in prison. Amurao, on the other hand, returned to the Philippines to resume work in a university hospital, was elected as a town councilor, and became the wife of lawyer Alberto Atienza.
Amurao is happily settled in Virginia with her family, her heroic part in “America’s Crime of the Century,” now but a blurry vision of her past.
2. The Crime Against Maggie’s Virtue (1967)
Magdalena Torrente de la Riva or Maggie de la Rivera was already a rising star of TV and films when the most despicable crime was committed against her virtue.
On June 26, 1967, while en route back to her New Manila home from a TV appearance, she was intercepted by a group of young men from well-to-do families, and forced out of her car. Blindfolded, she was taken to the Swanky Hotel in Pasay City where the helpless 25-year-old was forced into doing humiliating acts before being tortured, punched, and then raped by Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda, Jr., Eduardo Aquino, and Rogelio Cañal.
After the dastardly deed was done, the group dumped de la Riva in front of the Free Press building near Channel 5 where a taxi took her home. There, the sobbing Maggie told her mother of her rape by four men. A complaint was filed with the Quezon City Police under Tomas Karingal and it was only a matter of time before the assailants were found.
First to fall was Jose, arrested near his Makati home. He named his co-conspirators which resulted in the capture of Pineda, Jr. and Cañali in Taal, Batangas. Aquino, the fourth suspect, was apprehended shortly.
Brought to trial, the four suspects had a different version of their encounter with De La Riva, in which one of them, Pineda, “wanted to teach her a lesson” after she allegedly almost hit their car. He then offered her P1,000 to do a striptease act, to which de la Riva supposedly complied. The court found this story incredulous and handed out a guilty verdict for the crime of kidnapping with rape.
Judge Lourdes San Diego meted out death sentences by electrocution on October 2, 1967. The accused later appealed, but lost, with the Supreme Court upholding the RTC decision in 1971.
On May 17, 1972, Jose, Pineda Jr. and Aquino were executed in the electric chair in Muntinlupa, despite a last-minute plea for mercy by Jose’s mother in Malacañang. The fourth convict, Cañal, had died of a drug overdose in 1971. Their deaths provided closure to the tragic De la Riva episode, considered as one of the most sensational cases in the post-war Philippines.
1. The Jigsaw Murder of Lucila Lalu (1967)
28-year-old Lucila Lalu was a probinsyana from Candaba who went to Manila in 1957 to try her luck in the big city. In a few years, she had become the common-law wife of policeman Aniano de Vera and had 2 businesses: Lucy’s House of Beauty and a nightclub, the Pagoda, in Sta. Cruz.
On May 28, 1967, Lalu disappeared and two days later, policemen found her dismembered body in two separate areas—her torso along EDSA near the Guadalupe bridge, and her legs at the corner of Rizal Ave., and Malabon St., Her head was nowhere to be found.
The initial suspects were rounded up: Florante Relos, a waiter at the Pagoda and Lalu’s lover; Aniano de Vera, the 42-year-old estranged partner who was the last person to see Lalu on May 28; and Jose Luis Santiano, a dental student boarder at Lalu’s parlor. Relos was released after finding no evidence against him, and de Vera was identified as the one with the strongest motive to kill Lalu– he had threatened her and Relos after discovering their affair.
Also Read: Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries in the Philippines
Then shockingly, two weeks after Lalu’s death, Santiano confessed to the crime to investigator Sgt. Ildefonso Labao. He alleged that on May 28, Lalu tried to seduce him. In rejecting her advances, Santiano claimed to have accidentally throttled her to death. Then, he chopped up her body and disposed of the parts, including her still-to-be-found head that he threw in a creek near Sct. Albano Q.C. The sloppy investigators had not bothered to check Santiano’s room because Labao said that “they did not consider it important.”
Two days later, Santiano recanted his confession, and the case was even more muddled when “mystery witness” Dr. Nora L. Ebio came forward to testify that Santiano was coerced by Labao, into owning up to the crime.
When Santiano’s room was finally checked, the door was found to have been forced open, Found inside were bloodstains on the floor, kitchen knife, razor blade, and a woman’s stockings—supposed pieces of evidence that the fiscal found so unconvincing, he had the NBI take over. Today, the Lalu chop-chop murder remains an open case.
Continue Reading: 10 Notorious Crimes of the 1960s That Shocked The Philippines (Part I)
About the Author: Alex R. Castro is a retired advertising executive and is now a consultant and museum curator of the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University, Angeles City. He is the author of 2 local history books: “Scenes from a Bordertown & Other Views” and “Aro, Katimyas Da! A Memory Album of Titled Kapampangan Beauties 1908-2012”, a National Book Award finalist.
He keeps 2 pop culture blogs: “Views from the Pampang” (2009 Philippine Blog Awards finalist) and Manila Carnivals 1908-1939. He is a 2014 Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awardee in the field of Arts. For comments on this article, contact him at [email protected]
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