General Odi and Cherry: A Marriage Anchored on God’s Grace, Love, Respect and Teamwork

  • Written by Rene S. Bisquera
  • Published in Women's Journal
  • Read: 3896

As General Albayalde gives equal priority to his family, he has the unequivocal support of wife Cherry who, as an empowered woman on her own – indeed one of the country’s first Most Admirable Women having graced the cover of Women’s Journal back in April 2010. Here, we renewed acquaintances, refreshing her memories of a life that is, as always, well-lived.

Women’s Journal (WJ): How did you and General Oscar meet?

Cherry Albayalde (CA): My father was an officer in the Philippine Constabulary, so I had my clinical internship in the medico-legal department in Camp Crame. Actually, yung classmate ko ang may crush kay Lieutenant Oscar Albayalde... but when I saw him, I said to myself, this is the man I want to marry. Buti na lang, yon din ang nasa isip nya when we met.

I believe that the Lord ordained that we were meant for each other. After graduation, I left to work abroad. Also, my mother was not keen on the idea that her youngest daughter will be a soldier’s wife like her, because she knows the dangers of a military career. At dahil ako ang bunso sa pamilya, protective silang lahat sa akin.

But Odi persevered and convinced my family that I will be happy and well cared for as his wife. He was right - I am happy and contented. Ours is a marriage that is firmly anchored on God’s grace, love, respect and teamwork.

WJ: Tell us about your family to-date.

CA: We got married in a civil ceremony on October 8, 1990 and at the Saint Ignatius de Loyola Cathedral in Camp Aguinaldo on April 20, 1992.

The Lord has blessed us with three sons and a daughter. Our eldest son, Kevin, is now an airline pilot, while the twins, Kenneth and Kendrick, are registered nurses. Our youngest child and only princess, Carlyn Nicole, is still studying - she’s in grade 9.

WJ: What were you busy with before marrying General Odi and until now that he is the PNP Chief?

CA: I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, major in Medical Technology, then left for abroad to work for several years. Pagbalik ko, nagturo ako sa Far Eastern University habang nag-aaral for my Master’s degree in Education, major in the Biological Sciences. I was pregnant with my twins at that time. Even then I already started a small retail business selling imported RTW clothes. Odi had served with the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, so we were able to save money to use as capital for our business.

Then in 1998, tumigil na ako sa pagtuturo at nagpatuloy mag-negosyo. We set up a construction supply company which catered to the needs of high-rise buildings being built by Summa Kumagai, plus rip-rapping projects by Taisei Corporation. We also ventured into food cart franchising, yung Twin Balls, squid and kikiam, and I branched out into different types of enterprises, including jewelry, furniture and draperies, interior design, and landscaping.

I believe that by being an entrepreneur, I am helping my husband to be true to his calling as a public servant. Alam naman natin na bago naging pangulo si President Rodrigo Duterte, mababa talaga ang sweldo ng mga sundalo at pulis. Marami sa kanila ang nate-tempt na maging corrupt dahil sa kagustuhang mabigyan ng mas magandang buhay ang kanilang pamilya. Nag-negosyo ako so that Odi and I can say before the Lord that we have been faithful stewards of His blessings, na ang masaganang buhay namin ay galing sa sipag at tiyaga.

WJ: How and why did you establish Aqua Sparkletts as a business?

CA: Aqua Sparkletts by Carlyn Nicole began in the year 2000 as Spring of Youth in Angeles City. In 2003, we changed the name of the company and placed it under new management. We established an alliance with Pure Water of Korea so we can manufacture alkaline-ionized mineral water and help our kababayan experience good health.

Our technology ensures that beneficial minerals are retained during the water purifying process, so that when we drink Aqua Sparkletts, the ionized water counteracts the over-acidity in our body. Many studies have shown that over-acidity and inflammation cause a variety of diseases which can be prevented by properly and adequately hydrating ourselves with ionized-alkaline water to maintain a healthy pH level.

Hindi lang sya negosyo. Ang vision namin ay makatulong sa kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan.

WJ: What were the activities you initiated and attended to while General Oscar was PNP NCR Director?

CA: In NCRPO, we supported the PNP Discipline and Internal Cleansing Program by promoting spiritual renewal. Naniniwala ako na ang taong may takot at pagmamahal sa Dios ay kusang tatalikod sa kahit na anong uri ng katiwalian.

Since July 2016, we shared with all our Districts and Police Stations the Word of God and the joy of living a life that seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Inikot ng aming Regional Chaplain na si Father Noel Ponsaran at ng aking team of nuns, counselors and choir ang lahat ng Districts and Police Stations, knocking on people’s hearts to receive God’s love. We enthroned the Two Hearts - the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary - and consecrated not only our personnel but their families as well. We also held Lenten Retreats, confession and counseling sessions.

Alam ko pong maraming buhay ang nabago sa NCRPO dahil sa pagbabalik-loob sa Panginoon. We are blessed that we are free to practice our faith as Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Iglesia ni Kristo, Born-Again Christians or members of any religious denomination. Sa NCRPO, pumirma kami ng Interfaith Covenant para isulong ang religious freedom at siguraduhing ang pakikitungo namin sa isa’t isa ay may pag-unawa at paggalang sa aming pananampalataya.

In 2017, we renovated and consecrated the NCRPO Saint Joseph Chapel; then in 2018, we built and dedicated the San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel at the Southern Police District. We enlisted the assistance of the Order of Saint Michael for a series of training courses on Biblical leadership for our Team NCRPO.

WJ: How would you complement General Oscar’s responsibility to his position? What are your plans/projects to enhance the position/status of General Oscar as top police power?

CA: Ang sabi ni Chief PNP sa kanyang assumption speech, he will scale up his programs in NCRPO for implementation nationwide, so ipagpapatuloy ko rin ang pagsuporta sa PNP Discipline and Internal Cleansing Program.

Sinimulan ko na ang pagpapaayos ng ating Chapel sa Camp Crame. We also renovated our Learning Center for young children of PNP personnel, and added a prayer room where the kids can read Bible stories and be inspired by their lessons. I am working closely with our Chaplain Service to ensure that the Chief PNP will lead by example as he promised, and PNP personnel will follow him in putting God first in their lives. In doing so, their work as law enforcers will be blessed.

Lahat ng PNP Regional Offices, hihikayatin nating magkaroon ng Interfaith Covenant with representatives of the various denominations. Sa tulong ng ating Chaplains, Pastors at Imams, palalakasin natin ang mga programa para sa leadership, counseling, psychological support, marriage enhancement, at family outreach.

WJ: Is there a PNP Ladies Club which concerns matters related to wives of police officials all over the country? If so, what concerns will you most emphasize or attend to during General Oscar’s tenure?

CA: As the Chief PNP’s wife, I am Chairperson of the PNP Officers Ladies’ Club’s (OLC) Board of Advisors. At my first meeting with our Ladies last May 2, I reminded them that our involvement in the OLC arises from our husbands’ positions as public servants; then by extension, so are we. We agreed that we will heed the President’s guidance for all public servants to lead simple lives, and serve the people with integrity, humility and dedication. Our projects and activities will reflect the simplicity and humility that the President expects. We will continue with celebrations and projects that were undertaken in the past, but this time, everything will be done in the spirit of public service.

I shared my experience at NCRPO and told our Ladies it is my desire that the OLC undertake the same Spiritual Renewal Program not only here in NHQ but also in all Regions, Provinces, Cities and Municipalities, kung pwedeng hanggang sa pinakamaliit na police station at PCP. Ang spiritual renewal ay makakatulong ng malaki sa Discipline and Internal Cleansing Program, which the Chief PNP declared as the hallmark of his administration.