PHILIPPINE Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) general manager Mel Robles maintained on Thursday, January 25, 2024, that results of lotto games can never be manipulated considering the safeguards on the system.
Robles made the assurance in an inquiry conducted by the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement led by committee chairman Senator Raffy Tulfo on the integrity of PCSO lotto games.
“We would like to assure you that you can never manipulate it kaya nga po allowed kami mag-bet even I can bet because it is beyond me, even if we wanted to, with the system that we have we cannot (manipulate),” he said.
Tulfo launched the probe after a lone winner bagged the Super Lotto 6/49 jackpot prize worth P640,654,817.60 on January 16, two weeks after another lone bettor won the P571 million jackpot in the Ultra Lotto 6/58, the biggest jackpot prize in 2023.
On January 17, another lone bettor won big-time in the Grand Lotto 6/55 with a total jackpot prize of P698.8 million.
This has raised doubts and suspicion from the public especially after the PCSO posted on social media a poorly edited photo of a 47-year-old housewife who claimed her lotto winnings worth over P43 million which she won in the 6/42 lotto on December 28.
Robles earlier said that the photo was edited to conceal the identity of the winner.
On the 6/49 lotto, Tulfo asked about the possibility of betting on all 14 million combinations, which costs around P280 million.
Robles responded that he does not have any idea on how someone would do it, although he said it is possible, noting that it is the right of anybody.
But he said they can show proof that not all 14 million combinations in the 6/49 lotto during the said draw date were betted on.
Tulfo said he will work in order to stop the PCSO augmenting the lotto jackpot prizes.
The PCSO raised the 6/58 Ultra Lotto, 6/49 Super Lotto and the Grand Lotto 6/55 jackpot to P500 million in December as part of its “Handog Pakabog” promo.
Jackpot prize for Lotto 6/42 and Mega Lotto 6/45 was also raised to P100 million each.
Robles said these are being done as a marketing strategy to entice more people to bet.
He said that in the 6/49 lotto alone, they gained a net income of P202 million.
Instead of augmenting the jackpot prize using the prize fund reserve, Tulfo said the PCSO should have just used the money for charity to help many people.
(It's a shame if we add to the jackpot and we've already earned the prize fund. The excess money should be poured into assistance for our poor countrymen, instead of giving it to just a few.)
“With that billions of pesos every single year, magdudugtong yan ng maraming buhay,” he added.
Tulfo vowed to revisit the PCSO charter to make sure that the surplus fund of the agency will go to charity. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)