Two weeks after a disputed election, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos seemed in danger of increasing diplomatic isolation today as some West European diplomats here were pressing their governments to distance themselves from him as a public gesture of no confidence.
Several diplomats here who asked not to be identified expressed broad sympathy for Marcos' challenger, Corazon Aquino, and said the countries of the European Community might keep their ambassadors away from Marcos' scheduled swearing-in ceremony Tuesday. The diplomats spoke after a delegation of ambassadors from nine members of the community met separately with Aquino and Marcos' acting foreign minister, Pacifico Castro.
The European nations, like all others except the Soviet Union, have continued to withhold the messages of congratulations normally sent to a reelected head of state. But the diplomats from the EC countries made clear that their embassies here are pressing for a more public demonstration that they disapprove of Marcos.
None of the ambassadors specifically endorsed Aquino's claim that she had won the election but was cheated of the victory. The election has been widely criticized here and abroad as fraudulent and violent.
The Marcos government remained silent today on the latest criticisms of the Feb. 7 vote, including yesterday's U.S. Senate action condemning, 85 to 9, Marcos' reelection as a fraud. Ministers and ruling party members did criticize the Senate vote.
The diplomats said today's meeting with Aquino, as well as the recall of the Spanish and West German ambassadors for consultations with their governments, reflected growing West European concern.
Both Aquino and Castro requested their meetings with the nine EC ambassadors who were present in Manila and presented their side's arguments for having won the disputed election.
"It's normal for an ambassador to meet with legal opposition leaders in a country, but by having all the EC ambassadors meet Mrs. Aquino as a group, we intended to send quite a strong message" to Marcos, one European diplomat said. The countries represented in the meetings were France, Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Britain.
Aquino met later with envoys from Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Sweden. In her meetings, she repeated her insistence that she will not negotiate with Marcos on any power-sharing arrangement.
European diplomats said she asked for sympathetic consideration by foreign governments of her claim to be the legitimate president of the Philippines. After the meeting, the Netherlands' ambassador, Wieger Hellema, said he had no information whether the EC governments were considering a withdrawal of recognition from the Marcos administration.
The Japanese ambassador reported that Aquino had asked him not to attend Marcos' swearing-in. He said he would refer the request to Tokyo.
In Tokyo, Foreign Ministry officials said Japan has postponed the implementation of $183.3 million worth of project loans to the Philippines because of what was termed "the inconvenience of both sides," the Los Angeles Times reported.
[Canada said Thursday that it would send no representative to the Marcos' inauguration, waiting until afterward to send its new ambassador, Russell Davidson, to the Philippines, The Associated Press reported.]
Spanish Embassy First Secretary Agustin Nunez said he was unsure how long his ambassador would remain in Madrid for consultations, but it seemed likely that the timing of the recall would keep him out of Manila for Marcos' inauguration.
Nunez said the recall reflected his government's increased concern over the political crisis here.
A senior aide to Aquino expressed hope that a boycott of the ceremony by the European countries would help pressure the Reagan administration into a tougher stance toward Marcos.
The diplomats said the European Community is now trying to work out a joint position on Tuesday's ceremony and said several embassies were advocating only a low-level presence. A U.S. Embassy spokesman said no instructions had been received from Washington on U.S. representation.
One diplomat, noting that embassies have not yet been formally invited to the ceremony, suggested that the government may be preparing to play down the event, perhaps holding it indoors, to minimize public embarrassment.
After his meeting with the ambassadors, Acting Foreign Minister Castro said he had "clarified some of the issues in [their] minds" concerning the election.
"Castro didn't change anyone's mind today," a political counselor at one of the European embassies said.
Diplomats said the community would move slowly in responding to the Philippine situation. "The debate right now is simply over what to do on Tuesday and no more," one said. "Beyond that the situation is unpredictable so our governments are going to wait and see," he added.
[In a separate development, civil rights lawyers asked the Philippine Supreme Court to halt Marcos' inauguration and nullify the National Assembly proclamation awarding him a victory, United Press International reported.]