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FACT CHECK: No Marcos order to shut down PCSO


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FACT CHECK: No Marcos order to shut down PCSO
Despite facing public scrutiny due to controversies within the state-run lottery firm, there have been no orders from the President to shut down the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

Claim: President Bongbong Marcos Jr. ordered the closure of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in the thumbnail of a YouTube video posted on March 3 that has garnered 140,593 views, 3,800 likes, and 1,221 comments as of writing. 

Text on the thumbnail reads: “PCSO sarado na. Matinding utos sa Pangulo Senado.” (PCSO now closed. Strong orders of the President [and] Senate).

The video was posted a few days after a glitch occurred during the PCSO’s three-digit game draw on February 27.

The bottom line: No official announcements from any reputable source confirm the alleged shutdown of the PCSO. There are no declarations from the Office of the President or Marcos’ official Facebook page.

Lotto draws are still being announced on the PCSO’s official website as of Wednesday, March 6.   

Ongoing controversies: The misleading video did not provide any proof to back up its claim, instead merely citing calls from senators to investigate alleged anomalies and glitches in the lotto draws.

Earlier this year, the state-run lottery firm came under fire over a poorly-altered picture of a Lotto 6/42 jackpot winner who won P43 million. PCSO General Manager Melquiades “Mel” Robles stated in a Senate committee hearing that the photo was edited to protect the winner’s identity

The PCSO came under further scrutiny from government officials due to a series of “highly improbable and doubtful winnings.” After raising the minimum guaranteed jackpot for its Christmas and New Year draws, several multi-million prizes were won over a three-week period. (READ: Mathematician says audit of PCSO lotto, not statistics, can check for cheating)

In January, Senator Imee Marcos called for the temporary suspension of PCSO games while Senate probes were ongoing, but she did not call for the suspension or closure of the PCSO itself. 

In recent weeks, the PCSO again drew flak following a “minor glitch” that occurred during a live draw on February 27, when one of its draw machines “failed to capture one of the winning balls.” Robles said that this was only the second time in 25 years that such a glitch occurred. 

On February 29, Senator Raffy Tulfo announced that the Senate would investigate the incident.

Similar claims: VERA Files has debunked similar claims regarding the closure of the PCSO by order of the President and the Senate. Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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