SENATOR Aquilino Pimentel III has expressed doubt about the five major lotto games that have been won since December 2023 with a total jackpot prize of more than P2.4 billion.
During the inquiry of the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement on the integrity of Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) lotto games on Thursday, January 25, 2024, Pimentel expressed disbelief that the five lotto games have been won in such a short period of time, noting that it all happened after the PCSO augmented the jackpot prize as part of their promo.
“May game na umabot na ng P500 million ang jackpot niya without augmentation, ito ‘yung natural accumulation of jackpots from the bets, then ang theory naka attract na yan ng bettors pero months muna bago tinamaan eh… So itong nangyari last December is really an anomaly hindi lang one game, limang games (ang tinamaan),” he said.
(There was a game whose jackpot has reached P500 million without augmentation, this is the natural accumulation of jackpots from the bets, then the theory is that it has attracted bettors but it took months before it was hit... So what happened last December is really an anomaly, because not just one game, five games (were hit).)
“Ako’y nagdududa... Ang assumption, pag P500 million na ‘yung jackpot, andyan nagdadagsaan na ‘yung bettors. Naturally, it took months bago tamaan eh, then all of sudden itong augmentation ng P1 billion. All of sudden, sapol lahat,” he added.
(I doubt it... The assumption is, when the jackpot is P500 million, the bettors will flock there. Naturally, it took months before it will be hit, then all of a sudden this P1 billion augmentation. All of sudden, all were hit.)
On December 16, the PCSO raised the jackpot prizes for the Ultra Lotto 6/58 and Grand Lotto 6/55 draws to P500 million each as part of its "Handog Pakabog" for Christmas.
Jackpot prize for Lotto 6/42 and Mega Lotto 6/45 was also raised to P100 million each.
On December 19, a lone bettor from Quezon City bagged the P310.69 million jackpot prize from Super Lotto 6/49.
On December 28, a 47-year-old housewife cornered the P43 million jackpot prize for 6/42 lotto, while another lone bettor won over P571 million in the Ultra Lotto 6/58 draw on December 29.
On January 16, a lone winner bagged the Super Lotto 6/49 jackpot prize worth P640,654,817.60, while another single bettor won in the Grand Lotto 6/55 draw the following day, January 17, with a total jackpot prize of P698.8 million.
PCSO General Manager Mel Robles maintained, though, that there is nothing irregular in winning the lotto games in a little over a month.
He also maintained that manipulating the lotto games is impossible considering the safeguards in place.
This was after Senate committee chairman Senator Raffy Tulfo raised several possible schemes to control the lotto results, including the use of the lotto systems route access.
“Kunyari tataya ng 1-2-3-4-5-6, sabihin na natin halimbawa sa Novaliches. After matayaan, pupunta sa main computer system 'yung taong may route access na pagkatapos ng draw lumabas 7-8-9-10-11-12. Yung merong route access, papalitan nya sa computer ‘yung 1-2-3-4-5-6, gagawin n'yang 7-8-9-10-11-12. Pwede ba yun?” Tulfo asked.
(Supposedly, you bet 1-2-3-4-5-6, let's say Novaliches for example. After betting, the person who has route access will go to the main computer system and after the draw, the numbers that come out are 7-8-9-10-11-12. Those who have route access, he will change the 1-2-3-4-5-6 on the computer to 7-8-9-10-11-12. Is that possible?)
“Halimbawa nag-sabwatan lahat. So yung ni-route access kaya pang manipulahin. Palabasin natin na may nanalo. Hindi nyo ginawa yun? Possible or not?” he added.
(For example, everyone conspired. So the routed access can be manipulated. Let's say there is a winner. You didn't do that? Is it possible or not?)
May Cereles, a PCSO official, said it is possible.
But Robles was also quick to respond that the database for all the bets within a day cannot be penetrated after the deadline.
Tulfo also raised the possibility that a person can bet on all the possible winning combinations on a lotto game and have a printed lotto ticket of all the bets with the help of a lotto machine.
In the case of the 6/49 lotto, there were almost 14 million possible winning combinations.
In a bid to clear doubts, PCSO Assistant General Manager Arnel Casas said they are also willing to submit the list of lotto winners to the panel, as well as for them to undergo auditing.
The committee issued a subpoena for the records of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to check if the numbers of bettors tally with the amount of winnings.
It also ordered the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center of the Department of Information and Communications Technology to look into the PCSO’s lotto system and their machines. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)