The 2010 national elections are looming over our horizons by the day. But we stumble over – what’s this? A call to a constituent assembly tasked to discuss proposals for Charter change?
The urgency for such apparently transcends the Filipino people’s reservations with making any changes in the constitution, especially if spearheaded by leaders they don’t quite trust.

So upon hearing the news, a number (something objective and relative at the same time!) of our countrymen gather in the streets of Makati for an inter-faith protest. Opposition leaders – a lot of them presidentiables – are granted two minutes for their speeches. Now, two minutes may not be a lot in the vastness of time , but in regular debates, a lot can happen in two minutes. A thesis and an argument can be presented, rebuttals thrown back, counterarguments projected to predicted antitheses in – yes – just two minutes. And our politicians are skilled at this. The media, which makes everything concise, trains them with it.

Meanwhile, as if the threat of a political meltdown wasn’t enough, the World Health Organization (WHO) elevates the A(H1N1) flu virus alert into a global pandemic. Almost simultaneously, a cure is discovered and is made available. Because the strain is relatively new and alternative treatments are close to nil, we can just imagine how the demand for any available
medicine have skyrocketed. With the pandemic scare generating demand for anything that might quell the fear, manufacturers of drugs that can cure (or contain) the A(H1N1) virus must have sheer monopoly over the medical market right now.

The lesson in all this? Timing is everything. Whether architectured by man or fate, that saying holds true. But the difference lies in the authorship indeed.

If fate was behind these synchronic events, then what we have are coincidences. Attempts to change the Charter a year before the elections in spite of its unfeasibility? Demonstrations led by presidentiables whose chances for candidacy would be hurt by Charter change? A single cure manufactured in a single company becoming available at that same moment when the global pandemic alert was proclaimed? All these are pure coincidences, if fate was indeed behind them.

But if man rather is behind all these, then we are not looking at coincidences, but something less elusive and undoubtedly more insidious. That is interest. Interest is a touchy subject, and we can go on for years fighting each other as to what the other party’s ulterior motives are, but there can be no proofs for such apart from confessions or history itself unraveling them. Until then, we are dubbed paranoids. And if our fear happens to be true, we would have been too beaten up and disheartened by then to even say, “We told you so.”

And throughout history, there have been many we-told-you-so’s and we-should-have-known’s. These, along with conspiracy theories, aggravate our paranoia. So much that we have become gullible to claims without looking into the real issues at hand, unwilling to find out for ourselves what exactly is going on, spoiled with information spoon-feeding that we no longer think critically, and jaded that we quarantine ourselves from caring.

But that cannot be the case. We cannot trace interest (or coincidence) if we don’t care and we don’t take the necessary measures to warrant or dismiss our fears. When timing is everything, vigilance is our topmost responsibility.