PCSO admits lotto winner’s photo ‘edited’—and poorly done

PCSO admits lotto winner’s photo ‘edited’—and poorly done

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:34 AM January 19, 2024

The PCSO photo did manage to conceal the identity of a recent lotto winner, but inadvertently revealed the agency’s level of expertise when it comes to tweaking images.

NOT QUITE The PCSO photo did conceal the identity of a recent lotto winner but inadvertently revealed the agency’s level of expertise in tweaking images.

After arousing suspicion on social media, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Thursday confirmed that the photo it released to announce the lone winner who bagged the P43.8-million Lotto 6/42 jackpot on Dec. 28, 2023, was “edited” to conceal her identity better.

The photo, posted on the agency’s Facebook account, showed a PCSO official handing a check to a woman wearing a hat and, a light blue blouse and dark blue skirt, her hair coppery and her face almost totally hidden behind a mask and sunglasses.


READ: PCSO confirms viral photo of lotto winner edited for security purposes

Netizens poked fun at the woman’s image, citing signs of it being amateurishly doctored, from the lines to the shadings.


In an earlier statement issued on Wednesday, the PCSO described the winner as a 47-year-old housewife from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan province.

Appearing the following day at a Senate hearing on the PCSO’s newly launched e-lotto, General Manager Melquiades Robles was confronted about the photo by Sen. Raffy Tulfo.

“This picture was very controversial on social media. This is reportedly edited?” Tulfo asked, holding a printed copy.

“Yes, your Honor,’’ Robles said. “We have to protect the identity of the winner.”

Earlier complaint

According to Robles, the PCSO decided to tweak the woman’s image after receiving a complaint from a previous winner whose photo was also on the lottery agency’s social media page.

“Someone complained to us one time. We covered the face, but the winner’s clothes were recognizable. The winner asked us if we could not show the clothes. So that’s why (editing) that,” he said.


“I agree, it’s very poor editing, but the objective is to conceal the clothing that would be identified to her,” he explained. “If there’s something we apologize for, it’s the poor editing, but it serves the purpose of concealing the identity … We’re sorry we’re not very good at editing the clothes.”

Cloud of doubt

Robles maintained that the lotto winner in the photo was real.

But by then, many netizens had criticized the photo and expressed doubts about the lotto draw itself.

“How can we win the lotto when the PCSO seems to be up to something?” one said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“Anyone can win now; just put yourself here,” said a Facebook user.

READ: One bettor wins 6/49 Super Lotto jackpot of P640.6 million

Called by the Senate committee on ways and means, Thursday’s hearing was on the concerns raised against the PCSO’s recently launched online lotto.

Tulfo questioned why the PCSO proceeded with the test run despite an opinion from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel that the state lottery agency still needed a clearance from the Office of the President.

The PCSO officials said it had secured clearance from the Office of the Executive Secretary.

To check past winners

As to the senator’s query why the PCSO had to give a commission to its private service provider, Pacific Online Systems Corp., the officials explained that the commission was intended to cover the actual test run costs.

Tulfo later asked that the winners’ names be disclosed to the committee in a closed-door executive session to check if they were real bettors, not just the PCSO’s “katropa”—a slang for friends.

He said he would tap the investigators’ services to check on the identity of the announced winners.

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The senator, who is opposing online betting for lotto games, Small Town Lottery, and instant paper games, has filed a bill to address the issues being raised by various stakeholders against the PCSO’s new policy.

TAGS: lotto winner, PCSO

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