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Rockwell raffle not rigged – Rep. Binay

(Updated 1:44 p.m., Feb. 4) Calling the condominium unit prize she won as “pampagana,” Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay on Monday dismissed insinuations that the Christmas raffle held by Rockwell Power Plant Mall over the weekend was rigged in her favor.

“Kahit ako nagulat talaga na nanalo ako at hindi ko ‘yun ini-expect. Nagjo-joke na nga ako na kung magri-rig man ho ako, sana 'yung lotto na para mas malaki ['yung prize],” she told reporters in an ambush interview, adding that she won the raffle by “sheer luck.”

“It was by sheer luck that I won that raffle,” the daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay said. “It wasn’t based on my financial status or my stature as a politician.”

Binay, in a raffle held last Saturday, won a 32-square meter studio unit in Building C at The Grove in Rockwell. The property is worth an estimated P5 million.

‘I thought it was a prank call’

Binay, on Monday, said she is still in disbelief since she found out that she won the grand prize. She said she was informed of the news by mall officials through a phone call.

“Noong una, akala ko prank call. Akala ko hindi totoo Out of all the people na sumali sa raffle, ako pa ['yung napili]. Nakakagulat siya,” she said.

Dismissing allegations that the raffle draw must have been rigged in her favor, Binay said her victory was just a result of pure luck, noting that she has been participating in the mall’s raffle entries for a few years already, although this is only the first time she won.

She added that she liked joining raffle contests in general since she often wins what she described as small-ticket prizes such as paintings and flat-screen televisions.

‘Pampagana’ for 2014

Binay also said she considers winning the condominium unit as a pampagana to work hard this year, especially because she encountered some difficulties in her job in 2013.

“Sa laki ng paghihirap ng Kongreso last year, siguro sabi ng Diyos, ‘sige this year, bibigyan kita ng kaunting pampagana,’” she said.

Binay said she has not decided what to do with the condominium unit she won since it has only been two days since she found out about the news. She said she will have to shoulder the P800,000 gift tax for the unit, which will be turned over to her in May 2015.

The lawmaker also brushed aside criticisms from some individuals on social media who said she should not accept her prize out of delicadeza as a public official, saying she sees nothing wrong with owning the property since she won it “by sheer luck.”

“Ano bang problema doon sa pagtanggap ko ng panalo ko? Hindi naman ako nandaya. It was by pure chance,” she said.

Binay said anyone who doubts her victory in the raffle should just ask for an explanation from the mall’s officials, since they were in charge of drawing the winners’ names.

Mall officials confirm prize

On Tuesday, the Power Plant Mall confirmed that the solon won the raffle fairly, and that a Trade Department Representative was present during the draw.
"The Power Plant Mall confirms that Ms. Mar-len Abigail S. Binay is the winner of the Power Plant Mall’s 2013 Christmas raffle draw. The draw was conducted last Saturday, the 1st of February 2014, before a duly authorized representative of the Department of Trade and Industry and witnessed by a live audience," said Nicole Reyes, a marketing associate of Rockwell.
The Rockwell statement also said the raffle was conducted "in accordance with rules and regulations of the Department of Trade and Industry." —With a report from Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK/KG, GMA News