In an eight-page per curiam decision, the SC ordered the name of lawyer Jude Francis V. Zambrano stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.
It further directed Zambrano to remit to his erstwhile client, Singaporean citizen Diwei “Bryan” Huang, the full amount of PHP250,000 with 6 percent interest, from the finality of the decision until full payment and to submit to the court a proof of payment within 10 days after it was made.
The Court held that Zambrano’s ignoring of “consecutive follow-ups and demands from the client without any acceptable reason corrodes the client’s trust and stains the legal profession.”
Huang, a citizen of Singapore, engaged Zambrano’s services for PHP50,000 in 2014 to file a criminal case for estafa against several individuals before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City.
As Huang was often out of the country, he communicated with him online.
On the first week of January 2015, Zambrano informed Huang that the respondents in the estafa case were willing to go for a settlement with Huang where they offered to pay him PHP250,000.
Huang suggested that the respondents either directly deposit the settlement money to his account or give the money to Zambrano, who will turn it over to Huang’s friend, Ang Kevin Kar Wai.
Zambrano rejected the suggestions, saying that under the first option, payment must first be coursed to him before to Huang; and under the second option, that he would be unable to track the money once given to Ang, whom he did not know.
After receiving the settlement money, Zambrano did not turn it over to Huang, telling the latter that the estafa case had not yet been formally dismissed and that he was busy and thus, unable to give the money to his client.