‘Dapat live lahat’: PCSO urged to live stream draws after minor glitch

March 1, 2024 - 4:44 PM
PCSO live draw
A screengrab of a live draw livetreamed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office on Feb. 27, 2024 (pcsoofficialsocialmedia/Facebook)

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was urged to continue live streaming its draws despite experiencing supposed glitches in its programs.

The call came after the agency earned flak following an incident involving its 3D (three-digit) Swertres Lotto game.

The PCSO on February 27 livestreamed its 2 p.m. lotto draw on Facebook, which included the 3-Digit lotto game.

The 3-Digit draw offers a top prize of P4,500 for each winning ticket.

The PCSO admitted that it experienced a “minor glitch” when one of its draw machines failed to capture one of the winning balls during the game.

According to a report by GMA Network’s “24 Oras,” the initial winning combination was 1-9-7.

However, the lotto ball in the first of three draw machines dropped, causing the PCSO to implement what it said were “alternate procedures” during the live program.

Members of the PCSO technical team were seen testing a new machine for the first digit.

The livestream was discontinued for 15 minutes. When it was resumed, a new machine was used to draw the first number again. The second and third digits remain unchanged.

The incident was called out by social media users, who thought that the PCSO should have drawn up the three numbers again.

PCSO General Manager Mel Robles explained that their technical team “immediately responded and fixed the problem by using the standby machine which was approved based on the ISO 9001-2015 procedure.

He was referring to the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems procedures of the agency.

“It’s not the first time that this happens and we want to assure the public that we are prepared for this kind of unexpected incident with our established ISO-approved protocols,” Robles said in a statement.

He said that the PCSO also experienced a “minor glitch” in 2008, adding that lottery machine malfunctions also happen in the United States. However, he failed to mention an instance.

“For this thing to happen is very remote. But we are prepared and we assure the public that our commitment to a transparent, fair and authentic lottery games will never waver, and is as strong as ever,” the PCSO chief said.

In a separate interview, PCSO Assistant General Manager Arnel Casas said that the incident resulted from “machine malfunction” that was beyond their control.

He also addressed the online clamor to draw all of the three numbers again instead of just the first digit to be “fair.”

“Once the draw machine already selected a number ball, that is already the official winning number. ‘Di po ‘yun puwedeng baguhin uli, lalo na live po ito tapos nakita na po ‘yun ng tao,” Casas said.

The incident also drew the attention of some senators.

Sen. Imee Marcos, who had called for temporarily suspension of the PCSO lotto games pending an investigation into its alleged anomalies, said that she was stunned after watching the particular livestream.

“Hangga’t ‘di naso-solve lahat ‘yan, tigilan muna. Eh, ‘yung sinasabi nila na kailangan ibalik muna from start at ulitin. Mahirap ‘yung nawawala tiwala ng tao. Dapat pakinggan natin. Wala namang problema dun. I-livestream na lang lahat,” she said.

Some Filipinos had similar sentiments when they also watched PCSO’s livestream before.

“I agree with Imee — Live video should not be stopped. Kaya nga live eh. Other than that, okay naman ginawa ng PCSO. Except for stopping the live feed,” a Pinoy said on Reddit.

“Saka dapat live din ‘yan lahat,” a Filipino on Facebook commented.

“Dapat live,” another Facebook user wrote.

“Dpat mag-live din kayo para fair, ulitin ang draw,” commented a different Pinoy.

Sen. Raffy Tulfo, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement, said that he would order a probe into the incident to determine whether a “glitch” really happened or if PCSO did a questionable action.

The agency said that there are lotto judges present during its draws, including representatives from the Commission on Audit.

The PCSO has been hounded by speculations that it was not being upfront about its draws and games amid perceptions of having frequent lotto winners with huge amounts of jackpot prizes.

RELATED: Lotto winner dispels longtime claims that PCSO draws and games are not real

Last month, the agency submitted the list of its lotto winners from July 2023 to Jan. 30, 2024 to the Senate panel holding a hearing on the integrity of the PCSO’s games.

It also submitted a record of taxes which they said was paid by the jackpot winners from July 1, 2023 to December 2023.

Robles previously denied in a Senate hearing that lotto machines can be manipulated.

“We would like to assure you that you can never, never manipulate it. Kaya nga allowed kami mag-bet, Mr. Chair. Even I can bet, because it’s beyond me. Even if we wanted to, with the system we have, we cannot,” he said before.

“I take exception na kayang panalunin. Definitely, madami pong tatayo kung malaki ang jackpot. ‘Yun po naman ang objective namin — to really bring in bettors,” Robles added.

Lotto is one of the ways the PCSO raises and provides funds for health programs, medical assistance and charities in the country. Other forms are sweepstakes.

The money used for selling lotto tickets is used to fund various medical projects and activities that are supposed to be beneficial to the public.