MANILA, Philippines – An unofficial vote count of the Philippine midterm elections shows President Rodrigo Duterte's allies with an overwhelming lead in the race for the Senate, which the opposition regards as one of the last bulwarks against a brash populist leader accused of massive human rights violations.
Preliminary Commission on Election figures seen Tuesday show at least eight candidates endorsed by Duterte leading the races for 12 seats in the 24-member Senate.
Those leading include Duterte's former police chief, who enforced the president's crackdown on illegal drugs, a campaign that's left thousands of suspects dead and drawn international condemnation.
Monday's vote is seen as a gauge of public support for Duterte, who is midway through the single six-year term Philippine presidents are allowed under the constitution.
Official results are expected next week.