Lotto winner loses winnings to Morato?

LATELY, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has been in the center of controversy.

The issue has something to do with the plan of new PCSO leadership under Chairperson Margie Juico to transfer its office from the Quezon Institute compound to Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) complex in Pasay city.

Unfortunately, this simple plan was tainted with controversy when some groups opposed to the transfer suddenly raised the issue of the plight of cancer-stricken children who are being attended to at the Child House, a halfway house located inside the QI compound and was founded by beauty consultant Ricky Reyes.

The critics led by former PCSO Chairman and Director Manoling Morato made it appear that PCSO’s transfer would drastically affect the operation of Child House although Juico has repeatedly stressed that they would continue their usual support to the foundation.

At first glance, it would appear that Manoling could indeed be concerned with the welfare of the children but a second hard look would show that he could be just using the issue to propel his own agenda of hitting back at Juico.

It is an open secret that Juico and Morato have been at odds against each other after the former expressed her desire to run after the latter and make him explain about the scandalous and anomalous transactions that he entered into when he was still the top honcho of the PCSO.

She was also asking why there were millions of pesos worth of donations that were given to the Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. (PTSI) allegedly on his own behest

With these underlying issues, it is no surprise that Morato would resort to the so-called squid tactics just to muddle the real issue.

But is Morato really that kind-hearted and caring as he wants the public to believe ? I’m sorry to disappoint many of his supporters but the answer is no.

The fact is he has been embroiled in so many controversies and anomalous deals in the past and there are enough reasons to believe that most of the time “ he could be talking one thing and doing the opposite of the same”.

Take for example the case of Calito Mirando Jr. of Dingalan , Aurora who despite winning the jackpot of P120,163,123.00 with the combination of 15-22-23-24-34-36 on Marso 9,1996 remains as poor as a rat right now.

It was because Morato refused to hand over to him the winnings after declaring that the ticket he bought was a counterfeit.

Records of the case showed that Mirando bought his winning ticket worth P10.00 back then at a lotto outlet located in ACT Theater in Cubao.

A day after buying the ticket, Mirando went back to the same outlet where the machine verifier confirmed his winnings when it flashed in its monitor the words “congratulations for winning the jackpot prize”.

Mirando let a week passed or exactly on March 18, 1996 before he went to the former PCSO head office in San Marcelino st. Manila to claim his winnings. There he was met personally by  then PCSO Chairman Morato who subsequently checked his ticket alone inside his office.

But Mirando’s hope of good life suddenly vanished into thin air when Morato emerged from his office after an hour and declared that the ticket of Mirando was a fake and the real winner allegedly was a driver from lipa city.

Despite his protests, he went home a dejected and disgusted man until some well-meaning friends helped him in filing a case before the QC RTC Branch 215 of Judge Thelma Ponferada..

During the trial, several key witnesses testified that the ticket was genuine among them Edwin Alibuyog of Philippine Gaming Management Corp( exclusive supplier of lotto-dispensing computers) but just the same, he lost the case for obvious reasons that he did not have the same logistics as Morato had.

At present Mirando is now in his sixties, and the case is under appeal at the Court of Appeals still clinging to that faint hope that his life would eventually change once the court rules in his favor.

But with Morato as his opponent , I doubt if he could ever win and get what is due him. Bobby Ricohermoso

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