A friend of ours called me by landline last Friday morning. He seemed frantic as if he has discovered and got affected by certain virus.
This friend is residing barely a kilometer away from our Catalunan Grande house in Davao City. When we asked him what is it that makes him act quite unnatural for his person as we have known him to be, he told us he’d just come to the house. So in about 30 minutes he was already parking his motorbike in front of our gate.
After offering him coffee we asked our friend to tell us his story.
This friend who is a government employee, is like many other Filipinos dreaming to hit the multi-million peso lotto jackpot. And he has no qualm in admitting that he spends an average of P300 to P400 a week in lotto bets.
He asked us when the President stopped the gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) including lotto. We told him that as far as we can remember the order came on a televised announcement early dawn of Saturday, July 27.
Our friend proceeded to ask: “Was it not last Tuesday evening that the President also lifted the lotto ban? Therefore, the possibility is that the lifting order reached the knowledge of the PCSO officials only the next day, Wednesday, July 31, 2019”, he added.
So, according to our friend, the resumption of the lotto draw could have only happened Wednesday evening. We nodded our head in agreement. However, we have to ask him what was his point since it was clear that the lotto draws were suspended while the ban was in effect. That is, from July 27 to July 30 or a total of four days (nights).
He was quick to speak before we could say something more, saying, “Then why is it that there are results of draws during the lotto ban period?”
Our friend picked a folded piece of paper from his shirt pocket and showed it to us. It was a printout of the summary of winning numbers for the different lotto variants like the 6/42, 5/45, 6/49, 6/55 and the 6/58.
“Take a look on it. Even a cursory scrutiny will tell anyone who can read numbers including dates and days of months that those printed are draw results,” he prodded us.
Yes indeed. When we looked at the printout we saw that on July 27, Saturday, the day President Rodrigo Duterte repeated over and over again on television broadcast his order to stop the lotto operations as well as the Small Town Lottery and other gaming schemes of the PCSO, there were draw results for the 6/42, 3 digits, 2 digits and the Grand Lotto or 6/55. So were there also results of the draws for 3 digits, 2 digits 6/49 and 6/58 on Sunday, July 28, 2019.
We also noted with clarity that on Monday, July 29 when everybody seemed engrossed in a nationwide debate whether the President did the right thing in closing down the PCSO gaming enterprises, again the summary sheet of winning combinations also carried with it the results for that day.
Then, last Tuesday evening when the Palace made a rather late announcement that the President has lifted the ban on the lotto operation alone, it appeared that there were still draws made. This was borne by the winning number combinations shown on the summary of draw results handed to us by our complaining friend.
Our friend, of course, said that he did not expect a clarification from us. However, he said that may be through this column his question can reach the knowledge of the local office of the PCSO. He also informed us that even the teller at the lotto outlet from where he placed his bets could not explain to him why there were draw results on the four days that the ban was implemented.
When we suggested that why not he himself go to the regional office of the PCSO to have his questions answered, he retorted that may be there are several other lotto aficionados who may also be wondering on the same issue.
So, we decided to take up the cudgel for this friend of ours. Yes, we too, could not help but be puzzled ourselves.
Why indeed were there results if there were no lotto draws conducted? And why would there be draws when the operations were stopped by the President?
Will the local PCSO please educate those who do not have idea why there were results on the days when there were supposed to be no lotto draws, us included?