POSTSCRIPT / January 9, 2003 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Without follow-through, GMA losing momentum

WHERE’S THE LOOT?: To the lottery aficionados among our readers (who seem to be legion based on our feedback to our Lotto tips), we have more statistical data toward the end of this column for the SuperLotto draw tonight whose jackpot is expected to pass the P130-million mark.

We have been intrigued, meanwhile, by a statement of a Sweepstakes official quoted in a major daily that there are now 20 million bettors in the 6/49 SuperLotto. If each bettor places only one P10 bet, that means a cool P200 million collected.

With at least P200 million pooled, how come the jackpot is increased only by some P10 million in the following draw? Where does the rest of the P190 million go? We’re sure it does not all go to the President’s so-called social fund.

If the Sweepstakes office is not forthcoming with an explanation, maybe PCSO director Linggoy Alcuaz, a self-appointed watchdog, can help us find the answer to that question.

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NO FOLLOW-THROUGH: It’s distressing to see the days pass by with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo unable to follow through her renouncing 10 days ago of her option to run for president in 2004 in a bid to abate the political poison in the air.

Well-meaning Filipinos are just waiting for GMA to give the marching orders for the building of a new republic untainted by partisan politics. With no follow-up action, however, the goodwill created by her announcement is slowly dissipating.

Once the impact of her announcement wears off, she would have to make another dramatic move just to regain the high ground. By that time, she may no longer find the public as receptive as last Dec. 30 when she said she was no longer running for president.

Even now, we can already hear critical comments from people who have recovered from the impact of her stunning announcement. Even the opposition which was initially moved to sound cooperative is now showing signs of having recovered its accustomed adversarial footing.

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18-WEEK TIMETABLE: If President Arroyo tarries much longer in her follow-up moves, we fear that she may not be able to call as much attention and as much cooperation. If this happens, she will see herself continue to go down in the public esteem.

The President should not be deluded into thinking that she still has 18 (actually 17) months to turn around the country reeling from the errors of the past decades.

Seventeen months from now is the May 2004 elections, which is the end and not the beginning of her probation period.

In short, the President has not 18 months, but just 18 short weeks to perform a miracle.

Every day that passes with no significant moves on her part pushes us nearer to the cliff. We are distressed that it has been 10 uneventful days since her Dec. 30 declaration set the clock ticking the countdown.

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SHUFFLING AN OLD DECK: Even the putting together of the final make-or-break team is taking time. We see in the announced tentative changes in the Cabinet the same old faces just being shuffled around. That is not reform.

We are beginning to get the feeling that she made her Rizal Day (Dec. 30) announcement without any prepared agenda to give life to her avowed vision of a non-partisan president overseeing the building of a strong republic in the homestretch of her term.

We want to see the President, as taskmaster, to ensure that no week passes without her initiating or institutionalizing a major reform.

That is a tall order, but she has no choice since she is a captive of time. If no president can correct in a normal six-year term the accumulated errors of six decades, she cannot hope to perform the same miracle in just 17 months.

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IMPACT PROJECTS NEEDED: It is clear then that if GMA wants her presidency to leave significant marks, she should focus on just a few doable reforms in her remaining months in office.

These are moves that the masses will understand and feel in their guts, projects that mean food, jobs, security and such essentials.

There are no indications that the present Cabinet can move in response to this short-term demand. If the President’s team has it, it should have been evident from Day One. Shuffling around deadwood and driftwood does not produce an action Cabinet.

The end message is that we are still waiting for the President to build on the impact goodwill generated by her Rizal Day announcement before it dissipates. We want to see her start a series of significant moves, pressing on without letup week after week, to keep the expectant nation interested and involved.

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TIPS FOR P130-M LOTTO: Now some betting tips to our SuperLotto suki, who are legion.

No. 18 is still the llamado or most active number in the last 82 draws since January 2001, having come out 17 times. Catching up on it are 14 (came out 16 times), 5 and 9 (15 times), 49 (14 times), 23, 31 and 34 (13 times.)

On the downside, the dejado or laggards are still 22, 29 and 42, which have been stuck at only five hits since last year. Other slow numbers are 1, 17, 20, 27, 32, 35 and 38 (came out only seven times since January 2001).

Some bettors prefer to mix their combinations with numbers that seem to have gone into slumber on the belief that these sleepy ones might just be on the verge of waking up.

These data, btw, are only for the SuperLotto, not the 6/45 and the 6/45 Lotto variations.

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FAVORITE NUMBERS: Remember also that many winning combinations have pairs or adjacent numbers that come together. The winning pattern also shows that some active numbers have the habit of coming out even if they were already drawn in the previous game.

This means that you should not hesitate to pick two adjacent numbers if you really have the feel for them. There is no need to spread out your choices over the 49-number board. Or if your choice for the current game already came out in the last draw, never mind. It could come out again, as shown by statistical data and the winning pattern before us

For most Filipinos who indulge in some gambling, there is no substitute for gut feel. If you feel very strongly for a number, pin it down.

Instead of casting around for likely winners, many bettors get from telephone numbers, addresses, car plates, birth and anniversary dates, as well as numbers that, for some reason, flash through their minds.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 9, 2003)

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