ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the petition on the theory that the issue of constitutionality was not raised at the earliest opportunity and that the petition constitutes a collateral attack on the validity of the law.
FACTS: Private respondent Rosalie filed a petition before the RTC of Bacolod City a Temporary Protection Order against her husband, Jesus, pursuant to R.A. 9262, entitled “An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes.” She claimed to be a victim of physical, emotional, psychological and economic violence, being threatened of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support and also a victim of marital infidelity on the part of petitioner. The TPO was granted but the petitioner failed to faithfully comply with the conditions set forth by the said TPO, private-respondent filed another application for the issuance of a TPO ex parte. The trial court issued a modified TPO and extended the same when petitioner failed to comment on why the TPO should not be modified. After the given time allowance to answer, the petitioner no longer submitted the required comment as it would be an “axercise in futility.” Petitioner filed before the CA a petition for prohibition with prayer for injunction and TRO on, questioning the constitutionality of the RA 9262 for violating the due process and equal protection clauses, and the validity of the modified TPO for being “an unwanted product of an invalid law.” The CA issued a TRO on the enforcement of the TPO but however, denied the petition for failure to raise the issue of constitutionality in his pleadings before the trial court and the petition for prohibition to annul protection orders issued by the trial court constituted collateral attack on said law. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. Thus, this petition is filed.
RATIO DECIDENDI: Petitioner contends that the RTC has limited authority and jurisdiction, inadequate to tackle the complex issue of constitutionality. Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute. The question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible time so that if not raised in the pleadings, it may not be raised in the trial and if not raised in the trial court, it may not be considered in appeal.