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Res Ipsa Loquitur

In Re: Complaint against Atty. Patricio A. Asoy

Leonard Richards v. Atty. Patricio Asoy
A.C. No. 2655
9 July 1987
Sometime in 1982, Leonard Richards retained Atty. Patricio Asoy as counsel in a
civil case before the RTC of Pasay City. The terms of their contract provide that
Richards was to pay an acceptance fee of fifteen thousand pesos and Php 300 for
each court appearance. Thereafter, Richards and his family permanently left for
Australia, with the understanding that Atty. Asoy would continue with the case.
The civil case was dismissed by the trial court for lack of interest, as shown by the
absence of their counsel despite notice. This decision was overturned and the case
was reinstated following the reconsideration sought by Atty. Asoy. Two months
after the reinstatement, the case was again dismissed for lack of interest and/or
failure to prosecute.
For alleged Malpractice for non-attendance at Court hearing, negligence, and lack of
zeal in prosecuting a civil case for damages, resulting in its dismissal for lack of
interest and/or failure to prosecute, Richards sued Atty. Asoy. Despite several
attempts to serve him a copy of the show-cause Resolution, Atty. Asoy remained
elusive. He had gone into hiding and was deliberately evading service of processes
of the court, and so the Supreme Court issued a resolution suspending Atty. Asoy
from the practice of law. Copies of the Resolution were circularized to all Courts
nationwide with the directive that should Respondent appear before any lower
Court, the latter shall serve upon him a copy of the show-cause Resolution and
require him to appear within five days thereafter before the Deputy Clerk of Court
and Bar Confidant.
A little under a month after, Atty. Asoy filed a Manifestation submitting himself
voluntarily to the jurisdiction of the Court. He denied all accusations and prayed that
the order of suspension be lifted. He also asked that he be excused from appearing
before the Bar Confidant by reason of financial constraints. The court denied the
lifting but excused him from appearing.
In his answer, Atty. Asoy reasoned that it was the failure of Richards to give him
their new address in Australia that led to his inability to prosecute the case and also
he was unable to shoulder the fees required for the services of expert witnesses
besides the fact that his daughter was stricken with cerebral palsy. He also claimed
that he had no intention to delay Richards for money, and that he was deprived of
due process of law because he was not given an opportunity to be heard before he
was suspended.
Issue: Whether Atty. Asoy may be held liable.

Held/Ratio: Yes
As to the issue of due process, Atty. Asoy's side has been fully heard in the pleadings
he has filed before this Court. A trial-type hearing is not needed. The requirement of
due process has been duly satisfied. What due process abhors is absolute lack of
opportunity to be heard.
The facts disclosed require no further evidentiary hearing, and speak for
themselves. Res ipsa loquitur. The Orders of the Trial Court dismissing the Civil Case
are of record and Atty. Asoy's excuse that he can no longer recall them is feeble.
Atty. Asoy is guilty of grave professional misconduct. He received from Richards, his
client, compensation to handle his case in the Trial Court, but the same was
dismissed for lack of interest and failure to prosecute. He had abandoned his client
in violation of his contract ignoring the most elementary principles of professional
ethics. That Atty. Asoy also ignored the processes of the Court and it was only after
he was suspended from the practice of law that he surfaced, is highly indicative of
his disregard of an attorney's duties to the Court.
Atty. Asoy disbarred and ordered to pay damages.