By Emmanuel Reuben
MANILA : President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies appeared to have overwhelming leads in elections for the Philippine Senate, one of the opposition’s last bulwarks against a brash populist leader accused of massive human rights violations.
Preliminary results comprising 94% of returns from Monday’s midterm elections showed at least eight candidates endorsed by Duterte were leading in races for 12 seats in the 24-member Senate.
Official Commission on Election results are expected to be declared in about a week.
Those leading include Duterte’s former national police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, who enforced the president’s crackdown on illegal drugs, a campaign that left thousands of suspects dead and drew international condemnation.
His anti-drug crackdown, unorthodox leadership style, combative and sexist joke-laden outbursts, and contentious embrace of China have been the hallmarks of his presidency.
Duterte’s three children were also expected to win races for mayor, vice mayor and a congressional seat representing their southern home region of Davao city.