PANAMA CITY, FEB. 27 -- Panamanian President Eric Arturo Delvalle, deposed yesterday by military strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, fled his house today and went into hiding as the military ordered him to leave the country.

Friends and relatives of Delvalle said he was determined to stay in Panama. "I'm going to stay here and I'm going to stick it out. I'm going to fight it all the way," Delvalle told ABC News by telephone. "I want you to let the world know that I'm in Panama, that you spoke to me, that I'm not leaving anywhere," he said according to The Associated Press. He refused to disclose his whereabouts.

Delvalle escaped from his modest, ranch-style house in a well-to-do residential neighborhood early today after police sealed off his street, refusing to allow visitors and keeping him under virtual house arrest.

U.S. Ambassador Arthur Davis and a visiting American congressman, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), were turned back from a police roadblock last night when they attempted to visit Delvalle. The roadblocks were lifted around noon today.

This afternoon, reporters saw suitcases belonging to Delvalle's wife, Mariela, being loaded into one of several cars in the home's driveway.

Mariela Delvalle spent most of the day at home in seclusion and later was spirited by friends out of the house through a side exit to avoid reporters. She was driven away in a jeep to an undisclosed location.

The Delvalles' children and grandchildren were reported to be at the U.S. ambassador's residence, administration sources in Washington said.

Government and military authorities had no immediate comment on these developments. But a television station run by the Defense Forces tonight reported that Delvalle "could have been kidnaped today in Panama City by American agents and taken out of the country illegally and surreptitiously, perhaps from a military base in the {Panama} canal area."

The announcement accused the United States of "making a mockery of national laws."

According to Jaime Aleman, a 34-year-old lawyer and Delvalle supporter, a colonel in the Panama Defense Forces, two other military men and a civilian intermediary arrived at Delvalle's home around 6:30 a.m. to deliver an ultimatum for Delvalle to leave the country by noon. Aleman said the colonel, Guillermo Wong, did not say what the consequences would be if Delvalle refused.

The intermediary, Manuel Jose Paredes, said Wong spoke to Mariela Delvalle and later conveyed the ultimatum to Delvalle by telephone.

Aleman said Delvalle had left the house "shortly before" Wong arrived and by that time "was already in hiding." He asserted that Delvalle had rejected the ultimatum, adding that "his intention is to stay in Panama."

Aleman, a 1978 graduate of Duke University Law School and a former lawyer with the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, was appointed by Delvalle Thursday night as the new minister of government and justice after Delvalle announced that he was firing Noriega as commander of the Panama Defense Forces. In his new role, Aleman formally signed the order to dismiss Noriega around midnight Thursday.

About an hour later, the military convened the National Assembly to vote for the ouster of Delvalle and Vice President Roderick Esquivel, who effectively had been relieved of his job by the military several months ago. The assembly later named a new acting president, Education Minister Manuel Solis Palma, a close Noriega ally.

Noriega, who took over command of the 15,000-member Panama Defense Forces in 1983, was indicted Feb. 5 by two federal grand juries in Florida on charges of drug-smuggling and racketeering.

The 50-year-old general was accused of turning his country into a base for Colombian cocaine traffickers to smuggle drugs into the United States and launder their "narcodollars" -- activities alleged to have brought Noriega millions of dollars in payoffs.

Sitting at a bar in Delvalle's house as friends and relatives of the deposed president milled around, Aleman said he and other Delvalle supporters were waiting for the Organization of American States in Washington to decide which Panamanian government to recognize.

{In Washington, the OAS held a three-hour meeting plagued by confusion over whether Panama would be represented at the session by Roberto Leyton, who had been OAS ambassador prior to the Panamanian crisis, or Lawrence Chewning, who said Friday that he had been designated as ambassador by Delvalle, United Press International reported.

{The chairman of the OAS permanent council, Paraguayan Juan Alberto Llanes, eventually ruled in favor of Leyton.

{But in a move designed to erode Leyton's legitimacy as OAS envoy, Salvadoran Ambassador Ernesto Rivas Gallont announced that his country had allowed Gabriel Lewis Galindo, a former Panamanian ambassador to the United States and now a prominent anti-Noriega exile, to join the Salvadoran delegation to denounce Noriega in a speech.

{U.S. officials said, meanwhile, that Juan B. Sosa, the Panamanian ambassador recently sent to Washington by Delvalle, conferred at the State Department earlier Saturday with Elliot Abrams, assistant secretary for inter-American affairs. Sosa said Friday that he had been fired by the Panamanian military, but apparently intends to fight for recognition as the legitimately accredited ambassador.}

Aleman said Delvalle supporters now would join the National Civic Crusade, an opposition business and professional organization, in promoting a series of strikes to start next week. According to The Associated Press, Delvalle told reporters last night, "I don't have a seat of government, nor military support, but I do have 2 million Panamanians who are tired and bored of living under a regime that one man has governed capriciously, and because of that I call for national resistance to paralyze the entire country starting Monday."

But while the deposed president lacks the power to impose his will in Panama, his ouster appears to have stripped the Noriega regime of international support.

The Foreign Ministry called in the diplomatic corps today to explain the legal basis for deposing Delvalle and appointing Solis Palma. But only about a dozen envoys showed up, and several said that their appearance did not imply recognition of the Solis Palma government.

U.S. Ambassador Davis was among those called to the Foreign Ministry, but the embassy decided not to send anyone to the meeting.

"We were invited and didn't go," a U.S. official said, "because we recognize the Delvalle government."

In another development, Panama's Roman Catholic Church said in a statement published today that the military's refusal to accept the removal of Noriega "deepens the crisis" in the country, affects the "credibility of the civilian government and constitutional process" and "creates serious national and international problems for Panama."

The statement, signed by the archbishop of Panama, Marcos G. McGrath, and two auxiliary bishops, called for "respect for the legal constitutional order."