From Inmate to Vlogger: DJ Karen Bordador Ready To Move on With Life After Acquittal

Her first vlog is up on YouTube.

Karen Bordador had a thriving career as a radio DJ, host, and model when everything came to an abrupt halt in 2016. In August that year, she and her boyfriend Emilio Lim were arrested during a buy-bust operation in Pasig City. Both were detained and charged with possession and sale of illegal drugs. 

But Bordador insisted on her innocence and claimed that she was merely visiting the condo unit where about P3 million worth of ecstasy, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia were confiscated. She has since been detained at the Pasig City jail while her case dragged in the courts.

Photo by Karen Bordador.

In June this year, Bordador and Lim were found not guilty. In her decision, Judge Maria Paz Reyes-Yson ordered the immediate release of the defendants because witness testimonies contradicted the footage captured on CCTV cameras that was presented in court. The judge also questioned the credibility of witness statements, leading to a finding of reasonable doubt on the claims against the couple.


In a news release issued by her camp over two months since the acquittal, Bordador said that she has become an advocate for so-called PDLs or persons deprived of liberty.

“Being imprisoned for many years, I have fully experienced the life of the disadvantaged,” she said. “I decided to act as a spokesperson while behind bars for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. I did my best to communicate to the jail officers the needs of fellow PDLs, as well as how to improve the rehabilitation programs and facilities.

“I tried my best to contribute my talents and skills to make my time inside productive and meaningful,” she added. “I never lost hope and remained a dreamer throughout my detention.” 

Bordador said she intends to share her experiences while in detention online. She has since launched her own website, where she has been sharing personal reflections of what life was like behind bars. She has also uploaded her first video on YouTube detailing what it was like when she was finally released from the Pasig City Jail.

“The paramount part of Karen’s life after her detention—just short of five years in jail—is that she walks as a free person now, reunited with her family who suffered a lot because of these false accusations,” her lawyer Atty. Aaron Tolentino said. “Finally, Karen can prove to the world that despite the misery she went through, she is an innocent person who can walk upright. She has also forgiven the people who condemned her, although they do not know the whole truth. It is a privilege knowing this very persistent and resilient lady.”

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Bordador said she aims to raise awareness about the hardships encountered by PDLs and would like to work on efforts to support their re-entry into society. According to the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 a PDL “refers to a detainee, inmate, or prisoner, or other persons under confinement or custody in any other manner.” 

“My experience has exposed me to many PDLs who have been victimized, wronged, or neglected,” Bordador said. “I am pushing to improve their condition with faster case resolutions, more access to resources, and holistic education.”

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