The Most Rev. Francisco Claver, 48, Roman Catholic bishop of Malabalay in the Philippines, has been arrested by the Marcos government, the National Catholic News Service resorted.

The Jesuit prelate is the first bishop, among a growing number of priests, missionaries and lay leaders, to be held under the martial-law regime, which has outlawed criticism of government policies.

Specific charges against the bishop could not be learned. The Philippine embassy in Washington said it has "no information" on the arrest.

Bishop Claver holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado and a theology degree from the now-defunct Woodstock College. He has been highly critical of the Marcos government's economic policies and charged it with human-rights violations.

He was known to be No. 2 on a list drawn up in December of 155 church leaders - lay and clergy - the military suspected of "rebellion and inciting to sedition."

The bishop is under house arrest at the residence of Jaime Cardinal Sin just outside Manila, several hundred miles from his diocese in northern Mindanao, according to the news service.

On Jan. 7, Bishop Claver issued a pastoral letter excommunicaing any Catholics in his diocese who might be involved in the torture of prisoners.

Last summer, the Marcos government initially denied him a visa to attend church meetings in the United States, including the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia. At the last minute, however, he was permitted to come.

During his visit last July, Bishop Claver addressed a meeting of the U.S. church's liberty and justice bicentennial hearings.

"I am no economist," he told the American gathering, "but like any layman, I think I can tell when an Igorot tribesman, threatened with deprivation of ancestral lands so a huge dam can be built to produce more pollution, is being stolen blind in the name of progress.

"i can smell the rank odor of injustice when a migrant farm laborer . . . works for 10 hours under the broiling sun and is expected to support his family on less than a dollar a day," he said.