A Philippine prosecutor here has issued arrest warrants for Hong Kong-based editor Derek Davies of the Far Eastern Economic Review and the magazine's Manila correspondent on criminal libel charges related to an article on an alleged massacre in early April 1982.

The case arose from a suit by four senior military and security officers accusing Philippine-born correspondent Sheilah Ocampo, who also is the wife of the Swedish ambassador, and the regional magazine of libeling them in a story published later that month. The four claimed that the article--which concerned the alleged killing of 200 people on Samar, an island in the central Philippines that is a hotbed of communist opposition--turned out to be false.

Ocampo said that she was surprised by the move because negotiations were under way for an amicable settlement. The warrant had not been served on her by this afternoon.

Senior editors from the Review's Hong Kong office had visited Manila trying to settle the suit out of court.

The suit claimed damages of $2 million. It charged that the story contained "false, defamatory and libelous statements" that imputed to the officers the acts "of murder, homicide, maltreatment and other acts of oppression, terrorism and abuse of authority," which they said all were untrue.