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.

Manila City public workers remove the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph
Manila City public workers remove the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada around the Manila City Hall, a day after the country’s midterm elections Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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.

A Manila City public worker removes the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph
A Manila City public worker removes the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada around the Manila City Hall, a day after the country’s midterm elections Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Manila City public workers remove the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph
Manila City public workers remove the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada around the Manila City Hall, a day after the country’s midterm elections Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Manila City public worker removes the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph
A Manila City public worker removes the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada around the Manila City Hall, a day after the country’s midterm elections Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Manila City public workers remove the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph
Manila City public workers remove the campaign posters, mostly that of incumbent Mayor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada around the Manila City Hall, a day after the country’s midterm elections Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
President Rodrigo Duterte shows his forefinger with an indelible ink to prove that he has voted for the country's midterm elections in his hometown of Davao city in southern Philippines Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Manman Dejeto)
President Rodrigo Duterte shows his forefinger with an indelible ink to prove that he has voted for the country’s midterm elections in his hometown of Davao city in southern Philippines Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Manman Dejeto)

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