Once in danger of losing his house because he had no money to pay his debts, this former pipe line worker at the defunct National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (Nawasa) ultimately had the last laugh.
At one point, during a court hearing, a government lawyer mockingly told him that the only way he and his family could avoid eviction from their Caloocan City house and pay their debts—amounting to P300,000 at the time—was for him to win the lotto.
He did just that.
On Tuesday, he took home P45,049,768.20 for winning the jackpot in the Megalotto 6/45 draw held on April 29.
The lone winner placed bets worth P30 and used the birth date of a grandchild and the “random pick” system to get the winning combination of 34-37-17-09-14-21.
Father of 3
For security reasons, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which runs the lotto games, does not reveal the identities of the winners. A PCSO statement simply described him as 56 years old and married, with three children.
A bettor since 1995, the winner told PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II that he wanted to redeem his house from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and share his winnings with his three children.
PCSO media officer Joseph Muego told the Inquirer that unlike some other lotto winners, who were speechless and nervous when they collected their winnings, the latest winner “looked relax” when he came to claim his millions with his wife.
“He often places bets and has won in the 5-digit lottery,” Muego said. “It seemed he felt he was really going to win.”
His only hope
The winner was one of thousands of employees of the former Nawasa who were forced to resign when the water firm was privatized in 1997.
Being jobless for a long time, he eventually used up the lump-sum payment he got from Nawasa. Later, he received a notice of eviction from the GSIS after failing for years to pay his house-and-lot loan.
In a court hearing, the lawyer representing the GSIS told him jestingly: “You won’t be able to pay your debts unless you win in the lotto.”
“What the lawyer said gave me an idea. Every day I kept a portion of what I earned doing odd jobs and I would bet on the lotto,” Rojas quoted the lucky bettor as saying.
The PCSO said the lucky bettor planned to redeem his house and lot from the GSIS, build apartments for rent, invest in the transportation business and share his winnings with his children.
The Grand Lotto 6/55 has produced the biggest ever jackpot in the history of Philippine lottery—P741 million, won by a single bettor from Luzon in November 2010. The Grand Lotto also produced the highest jackpot this year—P132 million, which a lone bettor won in April. With a report from Niña Calleja and Inquirer Archives