Eight (8) F-35As would only cost about $0.8 Billion. Even if we double that amount to take into account the weaponry and electronic equipment needed for these planes, that will only be about $1.6 Billion.
That is only about half of the Malampaya cash currently at Malacanang's disposal. Maybe even less. So I do not think that money is the problem.
The main problem is that buying the F-35A would give us a definite technological advantage over any warplane Beijing has currently deployed in the West Philippine Sea.
So the National Politicians who will support such move will surely incur Beijing's ire. Because that will effectively remove from the table any possibility of limited punitive airstrike against us.
To force us to kowtow to the her imperial machinations in the West Philippine Sea through gunboat diplomacy, therefore, Beijing will have to launch more warplanes.
But the higher is the number of warplanes involved in an attack, the higher is the degree of negative backlash from American Public Opinion. I like to call that the "U.S. Evening News factor".
And it is American Public Opinion that substantially dictates the intervention red line of the U.S. Military...