Gavino Dorado
Birth name Gavino Dorado y Arabaca
Occupation Photographer
Born ca. 1914
Penalty Sentenced to life imprisonment
Attack information
Date September 2, 1962
Location(s) Manila, Philippines
Target(s) Apartment building
Killed 21
Injured 5
Weapon(s) Arson

Gavino Dorado y Arabaca (also identified as Gavino Durado) was a Filipino commercial photographer who killed 21 people and wounded five others when setting fire to an apartment building in Quiapo district, Manila, Philippines on September 2, 1962. He was arrested two days later and sentenced to life imprisonment.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Dorado, who had to take medication for an unspecified illness, lived in a 5-door apartment building located at 1039 Castillejos Street, which belonged to Ildefonso and Ester Tierra. Against the latter he had filed a complaint in the fiscal's office, after she tore down a partition he had set up in his room, which resulted in his loss of P70 in cash and P10 worth of medicine.[7]

During the night of September 1, 1962 Dorado was out drinking in Baclaran and when he came home the next morning in intoxicated condition found himself locked out of his apartment. Enraged he went back to Baclaran, bought a can full of gasoline, and then returned to the apartment building, where he poured out the gasoline on the second floor and set it on fire, thus blocking the single exit and leaving the other tenants trapped inside, as the windows were barred with iron grills. Twenty people, among them several children, died at the scene, while six others were taken to hospital, one of whom died of severe burns on September 5. Furthermore the fire destroyed the apartment building, as well as an adjacent house and caused P380,000 in property damage.[7][8][9]

The 48-year-old afterwards fled to Arlegui and Marikina, and then took a taxi to Quezon City, but surrendered himself to the mayor of Malabon on September 4, who then handed him over to the Manila Police Department. In custody he confessed to the crime and stated that he wanted to even an old score with his landlady, but didn't think about the consequences, or that so many lives would be lost. He was charged with arson, multiple homicide, and multiple injuries.[7][8][9]


  • Josephine Curato
  • Rosemarie Curato
  • Oliver Curato
  • Juliana Ravelo Curato
  • Braulio Curato
  • Marcelina Malaluan Vda. de Silva
  • Eufrocinia Silva
  • Rose Silva
  • Rufil Silva
  • Erlinda Silva
  • Asterio Alcantara
  • Simeona Cuenca
  • Visitacion Cuenca
  • Rosalina Navasa
  • Marcelina Orillo
  • Eddie Ong Orillo
  • Lydia Alim
  • Martin de la Peña
  • Sinforiana Wero
  • Baby Wero de la Peña
  • Orlando Ortanez

Those wounded were:

  • Leonardo Baaya
  • Phil de Guzman
  • Helen J. Villanueva
  • Maria Luisa Villanueva
  • Rogelio Villanueva

Trial and convictionEdit

On September 5 Dorado was taken by police to the crime scene where he reenacted the arson attack. The same day he also confirmed his confession before Lino Barbosa, assistant fiscal of the City of Manila, and was examined by a physician who found him to be mentally sound and without physical injuries.[7]

On September 6, 1962 Dorado was charged before the Court of First Instance of Manila with the crime of arson with multiple homicide and multiple frustrated homicide. During his trial he claimed that his written confession and reenactment of the crime were extorted from him through force by the officers at the Manila Police Department, who had slapped and kicked him, and that he did not tell the fiscal and news reporters about his torture, as he feared for his safety and therefore wanted to reveal it only during his testimony in court. The court dismissed these allegations, as there was no evidence that Dorado was the subject of maltreatment or intimidation, and found that he had written his confession voluntarily. Consequently he was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to reclusión perpetua, a verdict which was confirmed by the supreme court on October 31, 1969.[7]


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