NEWSFLASH

SOLO LOTTO WINNER A STO. NINO DEVOTEE?

CEBU CITY, January 11, 2003 (STAR) By Perseus Echeminada  - Is the lucky lotto player from Cebu City who beat the 13 million-to-one odds a Sto. Niño devotee?

This question cropped up yesterday after the still unidentified player picked the six-digit lucky combination of the 6/49 super lotto game, winning P135 million — the second biggest lotto jackpot in the past eight years.

"The Sto. Niño could have granted the wish of the player to hit the lotto jackpot," an official of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) told The STAR.

He said that days before the draw, thousands of Sto. Niño devotees flocked to Cebu City to observe the feast of the Sto. Niño, which has been known to grant wishes of the faithful.

Manuel Garcia, PCSO public affairs director, said the ticket for the 6/49 SuperLotto winning combination — 20-45-25-13-29-33 — was sold at the Eden theater outlet on Colon street in Cebu City.

The latest winner is the 631st lotto millionaire, and the second richest to hit the jackpot since the online lottery was launched by the government in 1995. A mayordoma from Bacolod City won the biggest lotto jackpot of over P145 million last August.

Statistics at the PCSO showed at least 60 percent of the lotto jackpot winners are elderly folk who maintained certain combinations such as birthdates, anniversaries and other significant events in their lives.

Jackpot prizes for the instant millionaires ranged from P3 million to P145 million. Aside from the elderly, lucky winners also include drivers, laborers, job seekers, messengers and other ordinary folk.

As a matter of policy, the PCSO keeps the identity of the lotto jackpot winners secret to protect them from possible harassment from "instant" relatives and criminal elements.

Sources at the PCSO said that most of the lotto millionaires have to relocate to other places after they were subjected to harassment by assorted long-lost relatives, sales agents and, in some cases, criminal assault.


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