MANILA – Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) should pay the winner of the burned lotto ticket or else face charges for violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
According to Barzaga, who is also the chair of the House committee on games and amusement, they can charge PCSO if they will not award Antonio Mendoza the amount of P12,991,600 because his lotto ticket could not be read by the machine.
“I’m drafting the committee report personally. My recommendation is for the PCSO to pay (Mendoza),” said Barzaga during an interview.
Mendoza was the owner of the winning ticket of PCSO’s 6/42 draw last October 2, 2014. However, his winning ticket was crumpled by his granddaughter. His daughter tried to iron out the ticket to smoothen it out. Unfortunately, the ticket could not be read by the PCSO machine.
He also revealed that PCSO has P3.35 billion worth of unclaimed prizes from 2006 to 2013.
Rojas said, in a text message, they are firm in their decision not to award the prize to Mendoza.
“We already explained our position to the committee. Our policy is no ticket, no payment. A ticket must be readable and validated by our machine,” Rojas said.
However, Barzaga said that there were evidence to prove that Mendoza is the winner, one of which is that nobody else claimed that they won during the October 2 draw.
“Based on these circumstances, it is but fair for the PCSO to pay Mendoza. Otherwise, the public will lose its trust in them,” Barzaga said.
Barzaga also noted that COA auditors said that they would not punish PCSO should they decide to award the prize to Mendoza even without a valid ticket provided that the agency’s board supports this move.
He is also confident that the House would agree on their recommendation before the end of January.
“They know the situation and I can ably defend the findings of the committee,” Barzaga said.