The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board of directors on Wednesday stood firm to their previous decision not to grant the payment of the Oct. 3 Lotto 42 jackpot to the lone winner of P12 million Antonio Failon Mendoza and his family.
PCSO Chairman and general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II told the House Committee on Games and Amusement that the jackpot money would revert to the charity fund if no winner would surface on Oct. 2, 2015.
At the resumption of the hearing of House committee on Games and Amusement, chaired by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, on the lotto controversy, Rojas told the panel that the unclaimed lotto winnings had ballooned to Php 3,355,721,420.87 from 2006 to 2013.
However, the Commission on Audit (COA) confirmed that it will not reject, on audit, the payment of Php 12 million should the PCSO board approved the winning ticket, which was partially burned.
Barzaga, together with Reps. Dan Fernandez (Laguna); Roy Loyola (Cavite); Miro Quimbo (Marikina City) and Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu), pressed PCSO to reconsider its decision rejecting payment as they noted that various circumstances point to Mendoza as the holder of the winning ticket.
Barzaga said he would ask the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe into claims of the PCSO of being flooded by bogus claims of jackpot winners.
When asked by Barzaga if they were willing to be investigated, Mendoza and members of his family readily agreed. They also agreed to undergo lie detector tests to determine whether or not they are lying about their claim.
Mendoza has been denied his alleged lotto winning when the defaced ticket he presented was invalidated by the PCSO machines .
He recounted that after finding out that he won the Lotto 42 draw on Oct. 2, he handed over the ticket to his daughter, Roxanne, to double check it. Roxanne’s two-year-old daughter, who was sitting on her lap, suddenly grabbed the ticket then crumpled it.
Afraid that the crumbled ticket might be invalidated, Roxanne decided to iron it, not aware that the heat will burn the thermal paper ticket and erase the inscribed numbers.
Fermina Panganiban, the lotto outlet owner who sold the winning combination said Mendoza told the committee that he was a regular customer and that he placed at least P100 for bet on Oct. 2.
COA Cluster 6 chairman Joseph Anacay said the audit agency will allow the payment of the prize so long as the PCSO board will approve payment.
But the PCSO board passed a resolution that it will stick to their earlier decision that the prize will only be disbursed if their machines validate the authenticity of the ticket.
When solons asked the PCSO board members to react to the COA position, only one of the four members present agreed to consider payment.
“If the COA will not disallow, my vote will be pay. We still have to meet formally,” said Atty. Francisco Joaquin, PCSO board member.
However, Rojas, together with Directors Mabel Mamba and Betty Nantes, said they would stick to the previous decision to allow payment only if the machines validate the winning ticket.
Rojas said that the rules printed at the back of the lotto tickets were clear that defaced tickets would be invalidated.
“Our duty is to protect the real winners. In the past we were infested with false claims,” the PCSO chief said. PNA