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Opinion

433+331 = winners all

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Only in the Philippines does lightning hit not once, but 433 times!

Four hundred and thirty-three people had the winning combination for the Grand Lotto jackpot prize, can you believe that?

Each of the winners won P545,245, exclusive of taxes.

As Sen. Koko Pimentel said when he filed a resolution to investigate the PCSO, the number of winners in a single draw was “strange and unusual.”

“Many people are wondering because statistically speaking, this is a rare event. Let us investigate to ensure the integrity of the lotto games,” said Pimentel.

A mathematician in the OCTA Research Group, Dr. Benjamin Co, has this to say about the odds of winning the 6/55 lotto: “You can form 27,988,675 combinations from 1 to 55 where each combination is a unique non-repeating number in no particular order. That means that the odds of winning is 0.00000345 percent. Or you have to play 289,896 combinations to increase the odds of winning even one percent.”

Mathematician Co also said: “It leaves you asking – by chance, how can 433 bettors be right on a sequence of numbers divisible by a single number? Your imagination is as broad as the chances of winning the lottery.”

The combination that won the P236-million jackpot was 9-18-27-36-45-54. These numbers are all divisible by 9.

Another unbelievable thing about that very controversial lotto draw: 331 bettors won the second prize, worth P100,000, for picking five out of the six numbers in the winning combination.

If there were 433 first-prize winners, logic seems to point out that there could have been more second-prize winners than what was announced.

PCSO general manager Mel Robles has a flippant reason as to why there were 433 jackpot winners for the single draw.

“It’s not impossible to predict kaya nga po may premyo (that’s why there’s a prize). That is your prize for being lucky,” said Robles.

The what?!

Robles had a checkered past as the administrator of the government-run Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA). The Sandiganbayan ordered his arrest in 2017, in connection with a graft case concerning the implementation of a P400-million maintenance and janitorial contract.

However, Robles and his co-accused were acquitted by the anti-graft court, which ruled that the charges were weak or had insufficient evidence.

Now, back to that controversial lotto draw.

Either one of the newly appointed officials at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO) is a jinx for carrying bad luck to the agency, or all of them most probably conspired with one another to have their relatives or friends win the P236-million jackpot.

Most probably it’s the latter. If it is, then the new PCSO leadership is corrupt.

The members of the PCSO board should not only be replaced, each of them should also be prosecuted in court, if the results of an investigation find there was a conspiracy.

This is the first time that a scandal of this magnitude has happened at the PCSO, which conducts sweepstakes, lotteries and other legal numbers games.

The PCSO is owned by the government, which plows its earnings – as the name implies – into health programs, medical assistance and services and “national charity.”

National charity includes community outreach programs, calamity and disaster programs and welfare services to those in need.

*      *      *

Trixie Cruz-Angeles did another faux pas.

The press office, which she heads, at first said it had no information about the trip of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to Singapore.

And then suddenly, yesterday, the press office said that the President had bilateral talks with Singapore officials on the sidelines of the F1 race.

Instead of saying she didn’t know the President’s whereabouts, Trixie could have said that he and his family went to Singapore to watch the international car race.

What’s wrong with the Chief Executive and his family having their free time spent in a friendly neighboring country?

Singapore is just three hours away by jet. If there was any problem in the country, he could be here in a jiffy.

Mr. Marcos needs to rest from his hectic schedule.

For her incompetence, Trixie really has to go.

*      *      *

The Sandiganbayan has reinstated Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with the rank of director III, saying their positions are permanent.

Esmeralda and Lasala were dismissed by then justice secretary Leila de Lima, who said they could be removed anytime as they were presidential appointees.

But the two NBI officials contended that although they were appointed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, their positions were permanent.

Esmeralda and Lasala said they started from the ranks and their being presidential appointees was only incidental to their holding permanent positions.

The two said although they didn’t take the career service executive office (CESO) course, their high educational attainment as lawyers made their positions permanent.

CESO officials hold permanent positions and could only be removed for cause.

Esmeralda and Lasala were dismissed from the service without any cases being filed against them. Therefore, the Sandiganbayan ruled, their removal was illegal and in violation of their rights to due process.

The court said that hand in hand with their reinstatement, they should also be given their retroactive pay.

LOTTO

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