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Pay Lotto 6/42 jackpot to burned ticket winner, SC tells PCSO

The Supreme Court has ordered the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to pay a Lotto 6/42 winner his jackpot prize of over P12 million after his daughter ironed and burned the ticket in 2013.

In a 17-page decision, the Second Division denied the petition for review on certiorari filed by the PCSO that assailed the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals.

The CA affirmed the decision of the Balayan Regional Trial Court that ordered the PCSO to pay the winner P12.3 million for the Lotto 6/42 jackpot prize.

The winner won the lotto in October 2013, but his granddaughter had crumpled his winning ticket.

His daughter then covered the ticket in a piece of cloth and attempted to straighten it with a flat iron.

However, the ticket was partially burned and only the first two digits of the three bet combinations, the outlet from which the ticket was bought, the draw date, the date of purchase, and the time it was purchased were visible.

The winner presented his ticket to the PCSO and was told to submit a handwritten account of what happened.

Despite this, the PCSO said his prize could not be awarded as his ticket had been damaged and could not be validated.

However, the Court said that the circumstances surrounding the fact that the winner bet on the eventual winning numbers had been established.

“In this case, while it is the numbers in the ticket that would prove whether Mendoza indeed won the jackpot lotto prize, it is actually the existence of the ticket that is being assailed by the sweepstakes office,” the Court said.

“Whether the ticket bearing the numbers of the lotto indeed existed is an issue that does not require the application of the Best Evidence Rule,” it added.

The Supreme Court said that the winner and his family’s pieces of testimonial evidence that he entered a lotto bet and that the chosen numbers corresponded to the winning lotto number were admissible and given weight.

House inquiry

The issue of the lotto winner and his burned became the subject of an inquiry of the House Committee on Games and Amusement in 2015.

The owner of the PCSO lotto outlet where the winner  made the bet confirmed that the winning number combinations on October 2 came from her outlet.

She said there were P5,000 worth of tickets purchased from her outlet on Oct. 2 or roughly 250 tickets as each lotto ticket is purchased at P20.

Then PCSO acting chairman and general manager Ferdinand Rojas II said the rules stated that the ticket must be readable.

“We are strict with our rules that the ticket must be validated by our machines. Our terms and conditions clearly state that the ticket must be readable, must not be defaced or tampered," Rojas said.

“And besides, even if we grant the prize to Mendoza, pwede pa rin i-disallow ng COA,” Rojas added.

(And besides, the Commission on Audit could disallow it if we granted Mendoza the prize.) —NB, GMA Integrated News