Vote counting machine burned in Zamboanga del Sur

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Zamboanga del Sur (CNN Philippines, May 16) — A vote counting machine (VCM) was burned in San Pablo town, Zamboanga del Sur Wednesday night.

Police said fire hit the San Pablo Central Elementary School in Barangay Poblacion where eight defective VCMs and other election paraphernalia were stored. Only one of the eight VCMs was destroyed by the fire, while authorities were able to secure the remaining seven, police said.

The incident is now being investigated as arson is suspected. Police report the fire "was deliberately set with the use of gasoline," citing the probe conducted by the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Prior to the fire, police said an explosion rocked the town's Purok Maloloy-on, somewhere near the fire station. Initial investigation showed the blast was caused by the detonation of an M67 fragmentation hand grenade.

Suspects in the two incidents have not been identfied.

The Commission on Elections is also investigating the burning of a VCM, along with some 200 unread ballots in Isabela province on Election Day.

Journalist Marlon Panares contributed to this report.